Conor McGregor has revealed that he was “happy” to lose to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 as it gave him food for thought regarding his preparation and fighting style.
McGregor’s loss to Diaz in March saw the Irishman’s undefeated streak in the UFC come to an end, but the 28-year-old has no regrets over his decision to face Diaz.
The reigning featherweight champion was initially supposed to face then lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in a lightweight title fight, but Dos Anjos pulled out of the bout with a broken foot, which led to Diaz being called up on short notice.
McGregor believes that should his fight with Dos Anjos have gone ahead as scheduled, he would have become the first UFC fighter to hold two different title belts at the same time.
“If I had fought dos Anjos that night, I would be a two-weight world champion — no doubt about it,” he told reporters. “The shots that I cracked Nate with in that first fight would have sunk dos Anjos no problem.
“But I am happy the way it happened. It forced me to analyze where I was going. The lack of structure in my preparation and my focus. It forced me to come back a couple of steps and correct things that I feel have gone off the tracks.
“So I am happy with it. Everything happens for a reason. But my life has not changed. My life is still good. I’m still living damn good, know that. So, I’m happy it happened. It is what it is.”
McGregor and Diaz will face each other in the Octagon once again at UFC 202 on Saturday and the things between the Irishman and Stockton native have already gone past boiling point. The duo threw bottles at each other during the UFC 202 press conference and UFC president Dana White admitted that the pair are likely to be fined and be the subjects in a lawsuit.
While McGregor knew he was taking a gamble moving up two weight divisions to face Diaz in a welterweight fight at UFC 196, he made it clear that he was not upset to come out on the losing end.
“The fight game is a crazy game. It’s up and down. Wins and losses happen in the game of true fighting, it comes with the territory,” McGregor said. “It’s one of the reasons why it had a $4 billion price tag, because it’s the most exciting sport out there. One minute a guy is dominating a fight and the next minute he’s not dominating. It’s a crazy game.”