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These two first met in March at UFC 196, the American stepping in at less than two weeks’ notice when Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from his planned bout with McGregor because of a broken foot.
The Irish fighter had stepped up from the Featherweight division – where he was champion – to Lightweight, where dos Anjos was the title-holder.
When highly rated Featherweight challengers Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar turned down the chance to fight at such short notice, McGregor eventually settled on stepping up another category to Welterweight. There, he would duke it out with the willing Nate Díaz.
Though McGregor was fancied, Díaz came through a hail of blows to secure the win via submission with a rear naked choke in round two.
A rematch was due at UFC 200 in July, but McGregor was pulled from the event after complaining about burdensome promotional duties. Subsequently, the fight dubbed ‘Díaz vs McGregor 2’ has been made a part of UFC 202.
“I was told half (past) one,” McGregor joked. “Vegas traffic is heavy as well this time of year. There must be a McGregor show going on because the place is tagged out.”
“Look, I’m just happy to be here and I’m ready to fight,” he said.” You know you’re going to get a fight when I’m here.”
I estimate that I’ll be fighting in enemy territory this time. Usually it’s been home for me in this place, with traveling fans.
That’s what I’m estimating, that’s what I’ve been preparing for, that’s what I’m looking forward to.
McGregor faced Dennis Siver on 18 January 2015 at UFC Fight Night 59. McGregor won the contest via TKO in the second round. The win also earned McGregor his third straight “Performance of the Night” award. After the fight, McGregor jumped over the cage and confronted the UFC Featherweight Champion José Aldo.
McGregor was expected to face José Aldo on 11 July 2015 at UFC 189 for the undisputed UFC Featherweight Championship. However, in the days leading up to the fight, Aldo pulled out of the bout because of a rib injury he had sustained in training. McGregor remained on the card and faced Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight championship. At the event, McGregor’s entrance was sung by Sinéad O’Connor, who performed a rendition of “Foggy Dew”. McGregor won the fight via second-round TKO, winning the UFC interim Featherweight Championship.
McGregor then took part in UFC’s reality television series The Ultimate Fighter where he would coach against Urijah Faber. This “U.S. vs. Europe” installment of the show was the first time that the coaches would not fight against each other at the show’s conclusion. Faber’s team member Ryan Hall ended up winning the competition.
On 12 December 2015, at UFC 194, McGregor defeated Aldo by first-round knockout to become the UFC Undisputed Featherweight Champion and the first Irish-born champion in UFC history. The bout lasted 13 seconds, the fastest finish in any UFC title fight. McGregor once again won the “Performance of the Night”, his fifth time in a row which set a UFC record for that award. The win over Aldo also extended his UFC win streak to 7 and overall win streak to 15.
cGregor is known mostly as a striker and will normally try to be the aggressor in his fights. To make it more difficult for his opponents to predict his next move, he mostly uses an unorthodox stance and will switch between southpaw and conventional stances as well. McGregor has been quoted as being “obsessed with movement”, putting an emphasis on fluidity, body movement, body control and balance in his training.
McGregor’s trash talk, pre-match predictions and use of “psychological warfare” against his opponents have led to comparisons to Muhammad Ali, whom McGregor cites as one of his early inspirations. After Ali died in June 2016, McGregor opined that “nobody will ever come close to [Ali’s] greatness”.
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