Conor McGregor set to return to featherweight for next contest

‘Another man gets a victory over me and he celebrates it, that’s the sign of a loser’

Conor McGregor says he will learn from his heartbreaking defeat to Nate Diaz. Photograph: Getty Images

Conor McGregor says he will learn from his heartbreaking defeat to Nate Diaz. Photograph: Getty Images

 

It didn’t take Jose Aldo long to give his views on Conor McGregor’s surprise defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 on Saturday night - “See ya at #UFC200, @TheNotoriousMMA. Your fairy tale is over. You got nowhere to run now. Time to a rematch, p***y,” the Brazilian tweeted after the fight.

And he seemed to trigger the desired effect from the featherweight champion who took Aldo’s belt last December with a 13 second knock out.

“He had an opportunity to show up here and he didn’t... he could be sitting where Nate is sitting right now. He said any time, any place, anywhere and then it wasn’t any time, any place, anywhere.

“Now another man gets a victory over me and he celebrates it, that’s the sign of a loser, that’s the sign of a runner-up. Not the sign of a champion. I know there’s a lot of people celebrating this, celebrating another man’s victory. I cannot understand that.

“At the end of the day I’m featherweight champion and I feel that it is right to go back down there and to remind them.”

A “heartbroken” McGregor told the media and fans in the post-fight press conference of his plans to fight Aldo, or Frankie Edgar, before returning to fight for the lightweight belt against champion Rafael dos Anjos - or possibly a rematch against Nate Diaz who he expects to contest that belt.

“It’s a cut, it’s intense but I make it every time. I’ll defend my belt and I believe Nate will fight Dos Anjos now and I think after I defend my belt and climb myself back up I will get my shot at that lightweight belt. Maybe me and Nate can do it again.

UFC 196 Post-Fight Press Conference

“It’s hard not to give Aldo another go, he was 10 years undefeated but he pulls out a lot, he doesn’t show up a lot. Frankie at least gets in and competes. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and see who the fans want to see the most.

“Then I’ll sit and wait patiently for the lightweight belt to be contested and make my way back up.”

As for the fight itself, McGregor conceded his bitter disappointment at the defeat but says he has no regrets over making the step up two weight divisions.

“I enjoyed the whole experience. The fight was a fun fight, he stayed in there, we talked, we were verbal. It was an enjoyable fight. I would have liked to have been more efficient. We live and we learn.

“He kept his composure. He went into almost autopilot mode with the shots, his face was bust up, and I went into panic mode. There was a shift of energy and he capitalised on it.

“I think with a bit of an adjustment and recognition that it must take more than one shot, more than two shots, more than three shots to put the heavier man away, I think if I go in with that mindset at a heavier weight I will do fine again.”

“I feel it was simply that he was efficient with his energy and that I was inefficient.

“I shot and he wrapped up the neck. I looked to pass guard but he had that high-elbow guillotine so I was forced to roll to my back. Similar to the Chad Mendes one where I rolled and came back to my knees, but I just hadn’t got it in me.

“I ended up on bottom, he passed the mount really quickly, really smoothly, landed some shots, got me to turn. When I turned he flattened me pretty quickly as well and then sunk the choke.”

As for Diaz, he maintained that his slow start was down to a lack of camp rather than McGregor’s strength or power.

“I’ve been hit with everything, the hardest stuff by 168lbs fighters, I spar with heavyweight fighters and I’ve been hit with everything.

“He punches hard. He’s a hard-hitting little guy but nothing that I’ve never felt before.

“I expect if I get hit by anybody it’s going to be hard but if you ain’t taking me out, you’re getting taken out, straight up.”

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