Home MMA Watch: Two Years Ago Today Diaz Turned The MMA World On Its Head With Victory Over McGregor

Watch: Two Years Ago Today Diaz Turned The MMA World On Its Head With Victory Over McGregor

The popularity of Conor McGregor and MMA in Ireland, and perhaps the world, has soared over the past few years. 

In early 2016 the Dubliner seemed invincible until Nate Diaz halted his momentum devastatingly at UFC 196.

During the 29-year-old’s rise to the top of the featherweight division, the SBG fighter seemed like an unstoppable force.

Within the UFC McGregor had gone on a seven-fight win streak, while he had a total of 15 wins on the trot if you included his Cage Warriors exploits.

Of course, not everything was all that different, there were still those who just refused to offer him any credit, and that appears unlikely to ever change.

However, after his 13-second KO of the former pound-for-pound number 1 Jose Aldo, the ‘Notorious’ star power and invincibility grew to a whole new level.

With the featherweight title captured, McGregor now had his eyes fixed firmly on history and becoming the first ever simultaneous two-division UFC champion.

The Crumlin native was scheduled to take on then lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and history looked to be in the making.

Meanwhile, UFC lightweight Diaz had taken offence to the actions of McGregor and had a message of his own for the featherweight champion.

When receiving his Fighter Of The Year award, McGregor did return jibes at Diaz, claiming he was too broke to pay for flights to the awards show.

But when Dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196 with an injured foot, speculation mounted as to who McGregor would now face. One man stood out from the rest.

The Stockton man agreed to fill in on ten days’ notice, with the fighters agreeing that the bout would take place at 170lbs.

In the press conferences prior to UFC 196 there were fireworks with the pair going back and forth constantly.

The fight quickly became one of the most anticipated in the history of the sport, and it most certainly delivered.

The first round was dominated by McGregor, who raced out of the traps and landed several heavy shots, however Diaz was unfazed by these.

Having weathered the storm, the 32-year-old found his flow during the second eventually emerging victorious over the evidently exhausted McGregor.

The Californian fighter took advantage of an attempted McGregor takedown and transitioned beautifully to lock in a rear-naked choke. The MMA world was in shock.

Memorably, however, the result was certainly no surprise to Diaz.

The duo would go on to rematch in August of 2016 with McGregor taking a majority decision win and subsequently becoming a two-division champion. The younger Diaz brother hasn’t fought since.

Still, March 5 is a night that will go down in MMA history.

You can relive the fight in full below.

About Kevin Daly

Kevin Daly
A lover of all sports, a master of none.