Conor McGregor forced to adjust future plans after shock defeat to Nate Diaz
CONOR McGREGOR's welterweight career looks for now at least to be over after just one fight as he admitted that his stunning submission surrender to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in Las Vegas has altered all of his immediate plans.
McGregor endured his darkest night under the spotlights at the Grand Garden Arena as the veteran Diaz cut off his circulation with a rear naked choke and tore up the script of the Notorious story.
Now the featherweight champion, who earlier in fight week had raised the prospect that he might never drop back down to 145lbs, is contemplating a return to the division he had torn through in less than two years.
"I know there's a lot of people celebrating this, celebrating another man's victory. I cannot understand that," said McGregor in his post-fight press conference, as a host of his former opponents took to social media to revel in his downfall. "At the end of the day I'm featherweight champion and I feel that it is right to go back down there and to remind them. I think next is probably go back down and defend my featherweight crown."
Jose Aldo Jr, the vanquished champion here on a very different night in December, was one of the first to take to social media and express his glee at Saturday's outcome demanding a rematch now. The man who inflicted the first KO of his glittering career was derided as a "pussy" in Aldo's tweet.
McGregor opted not to take the bait in trademark fashion and respond I style. He did however point the finger at Aldo and the Brazilian's refusal to take up the offer of replacing the injured Rafael Dos Anjos on this card.
"He had an opportunity to show up here and he didn't," said McGregor, who would have fought welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at the UFC's summer spectacular had he won here but now faces a very different range of options. "Aldo had said any time, any place, anywhere and it wasn't any time, any place, anywhere. Now another man gets a victory over me and he celebrates. That's the sign of a loser, the sign of runner up.
"It's hard not to give Aldo another go but he pulls out a lot, he doesn't show up. At least Frankie [Edgar, the No.1 contender at featherweight] gets in there. I'll keep my ear to the ground and I'll listen to what the fans want most."
McGregor had savoured the easing of dietary restrictions in the build-up to this fight. However, he insists jumping two divisions in just three months doesn't automatically preclude him from making the same journey in reverse now.
"I weighed in at 168 pounds [for this fight]. 145 is a cut, it's intense but I make it and I make it every time," he said as he continued to discuss options. "I think Nate will probably fight Rafael Dos Anjos next. Maybe me and Nate could do it again [for a lightweight title]."
McGregor has continuously spoken of his unquenchable thirst for action, time and again saying he would happily fight every couple of months. When asked whether this jarring night when a run of seven UFC victories on the bounce came to a rapid halt, might change his mind, he insisted there was no likelihood of him taking a break.
"I'm still really enjoying it. I'm not tired of it," he said. "I still feel UFC 200 is there for me. But I will sit [and think]. I'm not cut, I'm simply heartbroken."