Monday 23 October 2017

Conor McGreogr is busy building a media empire but says he'll KO Nate Diaz inside two rounds at UFC 202

Conor McGregor, right, trades punches with Nate Diaz during their UFC 196 welterweight mixed martial arts match in Las Vegas. Conor McGregor has packed a punch on social media rather than inside a UFC cage. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File)
Conor McGregor, right, trades punches with Nate Diaz during their UFC 196 welterweight mixed martial arts match in Las Vegas. Conor McGregor has packed a punch on social media rather than inside a UFC cage. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File)

Tom Rooney

As you’d expect, during a media conference call to promote the eagerly anticipated rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202, Conor McGregor offered an exact prediction as to how their contest will conclude in a fortnight’s time, all the while charting his evolution into a bone fide renaissance man.

Such are the vagaries of elite MMA, namely failed drugs tests and 11th hour injuries, it would certainly be premature to begin revelling in the imminent resumption of hostilities between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, though it is difficult no to.

Indeed, this oddly compelling sequel has been a long time coming. Even if Diaz’s seismic second round submission victory at UFC 196 was just five months ago.

McGregor’s very public spat with the promotion saw the bout pulled from last month’s UFC 200 though, in reality, that particular standoff has only added to the intrigue.

Diaz’s profile beyond the ever growing MMA subculture has expended exponentially since handing the Dubliner his first defeat in almost six years and, finally, the Californian is commanding the type of purse he believes his endeavour warrants.

To be fair to McGregor, he expressed happiness in seeing his foe’s recent upturn in circumstance, namely appearances on Conan and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Of course, he was quick to get in a plug for his burgeoning website - a blatant vanity project -TheMacLife.com.

On which the 28-year-old has been regularly posting videos of his exacting training regiment of late.

“I know it’s something he always wanted to be doing. I wonder how he’s feeling doing it? Because I know it ain’t easy doing all of that. It takes from what we are and what we do.

“As much as maybe people don’t realise it, it is very distracting. I’m happy to see him up there doing his thing. He’s doing well I think up there. I came in there and gave him a little help on Conan, but I thought the Kimmel one was pretty funny.

 “I’ve created a media empire. I’m at the foot of a media empire with this MacLife thing I’ve created. The content I’m releasing daily.

“I’m releasing these Embedded-style movies quicker than Embedded (UFC web series). I’m doing so much.

“Although I’m training it’s on my own clock. I’m still a workhorse in the promoting side of things. I’m in the news every day. I run the news now. That’s where I’m at. I create my own content. I’m in control of everything I do now and that’s the way it should be.”

McGregor and his coach John Kavanagh have repeatedly made it of public record that they hugely underestimated Diaz’s resolve and capability prior to UFC 196 and, as such, have, for the first time, tailored preparations around the specific strengths of an opponent.

Highly lauded Irish boxer Conor Wallace and his coach, Owen Murphy, travelled to Las Vegas with McGregor over a month ago, while grappling expert Dillon Danis has also been drafted in – perhaps prudent given all three of the Crumlin man’s career losses have come via submission.

Kavanagh recently predicted that his student would dispatch of Diaz in the fourth round of their welterweight contest, presumably by KO or TKO.

When considering that the 31-year-old has lost in such a manner just once in a 29-fight career, and that McGregor has never fought beyond the third stanza, such an outcome would seem unlikely.

McGregor, apparently, agrees, and was adamant that he will get the job done in half that time.

“This time, I’m still going to march forward, I’m still going to press him. I’m still going to bust him but there’s going to be a lot more in the tank and I’m going to be a lot more prepared for a man that can stay in there with me.

“If I was to make a prediction, and I will right now, I believe I will repay the favour and KO him inside the second round.”

Both men are open to the possibility of a trilogy fight should McGregor prevail, and for those who gleefully celebrated his defeat in March, the ‘Notorious ‘ had a typical riposte.

“F**k people. I came in to fight and that’s it. People can say what the F**k they want.”

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