Nate Diaz lost a close majority decision to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in what was one of the better fights in mixed martial arts history. While the bout was extremely tight, most observers felt satisfied with the final verdict. Diaz is was not.
On Chael Sonnen’s podcast this week, Diaz said he is completely satisfied with his performance and that he doesn’t see the need for a third fight with McGregor any time soon. He then told MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi that he believes he’s 2-0 against McGregor.
Here’s what he told Raimondi:
“It’s whatever to me. I won the fight. I’m not jumping for joy for round three. I think I beat him twice and it’s 2-0, as far as I’m concerned. If they’re gonna want to do it down the road, I don’t know. I’m not in a hurry. It’s all good.”
Look, Diaz fought a really good fight and he’s a tough dude who doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody. But he lost the fight. In the first matchup with McGregor, Diaz weathered the early first-round storm, then turned the tables on the Irishman, submitting him in the second.
In the second fight, McGregor dominated the first round again, so much so that it could have easily been scored 10-8. He also controlled the majority of the second before clearly tiring. While Diaz dominated the last minute of that round, it appeared McGregor had won it due to his early work. Diaz owned the third and almost ended the fight on several occasions, and a 10-8 score in his favor would have been reasonable. In the fourth, it appeared that McGregor bounced back and won the round, largely due to the accumulation of damage on his opponent’s face and a cut that was clearly impacting Diaz’s vision. Then Diaz easily took the fifth.
Now I could see someone calling the second round even, but I thought the rest was pretty clear: McGregor took rounds one and four, Diaz took three and five. That means the best case scenario for Diaz would have been a draw (on judge had it 47-47, while the other two scored it 48-47 for McGregor).
Either way, a loss in a great fight is never bad for a UFC fighter. In fact, a loss in a war is often more valuable than winning a boring fight.
Diaz and McGregor will likely meet a third time but it almost certainly won’t come for a while. Dana White has said he wants McGregor to defend his featherweight championship against Jose Aldo when he’s recovered from the Diaz fight. Meanwhile, there are a lot of options open to Diaz and he should be able to get a solid opponent whenever he wants.