Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will finally square off in their much anticipated rematch this Saturday.
But the lead up to this fight has been much different than last time.
McGregor seems more agitated and impulsive than usual. He refused to talk to the press when the first rematch was scheduled, which is why the fight was pulled from UFC 200.
Since then, his interviews have lacked the flash that they previously held. He isn’t being the entertaining McGregor that we are used to. His boasts seem empty and forced, and the fact that he lost to Diaz once doesn’t help him. The other night, McGregor did an interview on FOX. He answered all of the questions with only a few words and seemed upset the whole time.
The most recent press conference only confirms these things. McGregor allowed himself to get riled up by Diaz and the event turned into a water bottle throwing match.
Diaz, on the other hand, is always like this. He always comes into fights with a chip on his shoulder, and it seems like he is getting under McGregor’s skin. At his open workout, McGregor cussed out the Diaz brothers and their fans multiple times before storming off. Instead of acting like the invincible man he claims to be, he is acting like a mere mortal.
This partly has to do with his opponent. McGregor hasn’t faced someone with the same attitude as Nate Diaz. His other opponents have either declined to engage in trash talk, or wilted under McGregor’s insults. Diaz can give as good as he gets, even if he doesn’t have the same gift for gab as the Irishman.
But Diaz isn’t the only reason Conor has been acting shaky. He knows that this fight is do or die. You can explain away one loss, but two losses? That would be a major disaster for the persona that McGregor has carefully cultivated. And if he does lose, he will be going back down to featherweight to defend his title on a two-fight losing streak. This damages the credibility of himself as well as the UFC. Even though his losses will have been at 170lbs, the fans won’t care. It seems like one loss has damaged McGregor’s confidence at least a little, so there is no telling what two losses would do to him.
This is a pivotal moment for McGregor and his career. Will he continue to be a superstar? Or will this be his first step towards fading away?