by LIAM RICHNER
The MGM in Las Vegas was left in shock on Saturday night, as Conor McGregor lost for the first time in his UFC career.
Nate Diaz had only 10 days to prepare for their fight at UFC 196, but he wrapped up the victory by choking the Irishman in the second round.
McGregor , who took just just 13 seconds to defeat Jose Aldo Jr and claim the Featherweight belt last December, was humble in defeat. However, he was quick to call out two people as he looks for his next challenge.
The Notorious wrote on his Instagram: “I stormed in and put it all on the line. I took a shot and missed, but I will not apologise for taking a shot.
“If another champion goes up two weight divisions then let me know.
“Aldo you are a p***y. Dos Anjos you are a p***y. Don’t shy away from challenges. Don’t run from adversity. Face yourself head on.
“Nate I will see you again.”
There is no doubt McGregor will drop down a weight or even two for his next bout, with the two men he called out being fighters with whom he has a score to settle with.
We all know Aldo has been twitching his thumbs at the prospect of a rematch for the Featherweight belt McGregor ripped from his clutches so easily. A belt he had defended successfully for a decade prior to that fight late last year.
But let’s not forget the man McGregor was supposed to face at UFC 196, Rafael Dos Anjos. He controversially injured himself in the build up to the fight, and a possible rescheduling of that tussle could happen at UFC 200, which takes place this July.
Short term though, the defeat on Saturday might have caused a bigger dent on the Notorious’ stature than one may think. He is the biggest name in the Sport and there is no hiding that no one is more deserving of that tagline. He felt he could move up and down the divisions and own them all, starting with the two division jump for Saturday’s bout. That’s what confidence does to an athlete.
But we all knew this contest had the potential to be a mismatch, and that was proven in the second round.
The moment Diaz caught McGregor with his fist, we saw a different fighter in the cage then the one that for the past couple of years, has been bigging himself up as the main man on the roster.
He looked like he was in some real trouble in the Octagon and for a character who has previously said he would rather ‘die than tap out’, he had no option but to throw in the towel when he was caught in Diaz’s submission hold.
When Dos Anjos pulled out of the fight, McGregor had the option to fight someone not of the same quality as Diaz, but he wanted something bigger, he was hungry and wanted something big to dig his teeth into.
He admitted he was careless against his opponent and will learn from the experience and come back a better fighter.
He still made the most revenue Saturday and there is no doubt he will do so again at UFC 200. He will be the headline act for many more years and continue to increase the sports popularity around the world.
But will people still see him as the man that can rule the UFC from top to bottom? That has become far less clear after last weekend’s defeat.