Conor McGregor may have predicted that he would knock Nate Diaz out in the first round the last time they fought, but McGregor has much more respect for his opponent after losing to him earlier this year.
On Friday afternoon’s media conference call, McGregor predicted that he will defeat Diaz by knockout in the second round when the two face off in one of the UFC’s most anticipated fights of the year at UFC 202 on August 20th.
“But this time I’m still going to march forward, I’m still going to press him, I’m still going to bust him, there’s just going to be a lot more in my tank. I’m going to be a lot more prepared for a man that can stay in there with me. But even still, I struggle to give him past round three.” McGregor said.
"If I was to make a prediction, which I will right now, I believe I will repay the favor and KO him inside the second round.”
Though McGregor was brash in making his prediction, he showed respect for his opponent’s durability and experience throughout the call.
“I didn’t give enough credit to Nate’s durability and his experience, he’s a very experienced fighter, he’s had more UFC fights than I’ve had fights. Also his height and his range and his reactions, I gave no respect to that.“
“For the first round and a half he was a heavy bag with eyeballs, so I was correcting that, but his durability held out, his experience held out for him. So this time I’ve been preparing for that. I’ve been preparing to face a durable, experienced fighter who has the reach, the height, and the length.” McGregor said. “I feel very confident that we will get this win back and put this man away.”
When asked about potentially appearing in WWE, McGregor claimed not to have thought about it and had harsh words for most professional wrestlers. But he called the McMahon family, Triple H, and The Rock dons of the wrestling game.
McGregor called the rematch with Diaz the biggest fight of his career. He claimed that he should be a champion in two weight classes, and said he would have knocked out Rafael dos Anjos with the shots Diaz was able to withstand if their scheduled match earlier this year came to fruition.
Diaz stepped in on short notice for the injured dos Anjos and tapped out McGregor in the second round at UFC 196.
McGregor said that the fight with Diaz means more to him more than any money or gold, and said that he gave up opportunities in Hollywood to prepare for the fight.
When asked about what motivates him in a second fight against McGregor, Diaz said that he wanted the fight because if he’s going to fight, it’s only going to be in a big fight. If he’s going to fight someone it’s going to be a big deal, a big payday, and a big fight.
On the topic of the recent $4+ billion UFC sale, McGregor commended the Fertitta family for bringing the sport up from nothing, but couldn’t resist taking credit for the lofty price tag. McGregor said he’s not wondering about the future with the UFC sale, but plotting his next moves.
McGregor talked about how he has improved his preparation to face the bigger Diaz in the rematch. He says that he’s been sparring with bigger guys while Diaz has been sparring with smaller fighters in preparation.
The two mostly avoided verbally sparring with each other, but McGregor jumped in and claimed that he “taught the kid well” when Diaz was questioned about his contractual negotiations for the fight.
“I was going to get that money regardless,” Diaz responded.
After McGregor’s refusal to fulfill media obligations forced the rematch off of the UFC 200 card, both men were questioned about promoting this fight.
McGregor touted the media projects his team has been doing on social media. Diaz talked about the obligations being an annoyance, but said that he didn’t want to regret not taking advantage of the opportunities.
When asked about USADA testing, McGregor also threw barbs at Diaz, noting that he has been tested six more times than his opponent.
The full conference call is available to listen to here.