Cleat Geeks

Fighting With Emotion: UFC 202

       mcgregordiaz1Conor McGregor was unable to deliver on his promise to defeat Nate Diaz the last time that they matched up, but there have also been more upsets in the UFC than failed drug tests this year, (and we all know we have seen a lot of those). Now that it’s a possibility that Jon Jones will not be suspended for two years, the UFC may have some of its star power back in the future. A lot of that current star power is dependent on Conor McGregor getting over this hurdle that he has before him. During this week’s UFC 202 pre-fight press conference, Nate Diaz showed up on time and was ready to promote his upcoming fight. Conor McGregor, as he typically does, showed up 30 minutes late to the press conference. Nate would take this as a blatant sign of disrespect, and proceeded to exit before the conference could begin with all of its featured fighters. This would result in a lot of middle fingers, choice words, and water bottles being thrown across a packed venue. Although this is not the most mature way to handle any situation, we were treated to some substantial fireworks that may impact the result of this fight.
The last time I remember seeing animosity like this, was when Ronda Rousey fought Miesha Tate after their Ultimate Fighter season had concluded. Rousey would not even shake Tate’s hand after the fight, and she was the victor. I do appreciate seeing fighters hug it out or shake hands after a hard-fought battle of words and blows, but every once in awhile it is exciting to see some WWE like antics. This is fighting after all, and for the first time in a long time we have two fighters in a main event that would take this fight inside a cage or on the side of the street, it wouldn’t matter to them. When Nate’s brother Nick fought Anderson Silva in his last fight, we didn’t see Nick’s typical signs of disrespect that we are used to seeing in order for him to get inside his opponent’s head. But when the bell rang Nick was back to his disrespecting ways. It didn’t turn out to be as exciting as we would have hoped, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that Anderson was not playing any games, which we are also used to seeing. Both Conor and Nate are not holding anything back, or waiting for any bells to ring. They are “full-go” at all times.McgreggorDiaz196
When this fight was booked the last time, Nate Diaz didn’t have a whole lot to say about his opponent given the fact that this fight was taken on just a few days notice, and he understood how big of an underdog he was going to be. This time he has a chip on his shoulder. Not only did he defeat McGregor, he embarrassed him by putting his own words into his mouth. Conor famously said that when he hits fighters, he turns strikers turn into wrestlers. When Nate connected with a one-two punch to the chin of Conor McGregor, it was Conor who tried to take the fight to the mat. Given the fact that Nate is a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Conor must have been more hurt than any of us could have imagined. There is no way McGregor would have elected to go to the ground unless he was absolutely sure that he couldn’t stand anymore.
     Fighting with emotion is not something that many coaches would suggest that their fighters do. It is wise to stick to a game-plan, regardless of what your opponent tries to do. Obviously, every action during the course of a fight changes every circumstance, but these changes can be adapted to without emotion. You better believe that we will have all the emotion that we can handle when these two face-off in Las Vegas. Nate will have to face Conor alone in the cage, and he will also be alone when it comes to his corner. Every one from his “posse” has been banned from attending the UFC main event, including his brother Nick Diaz, due to their involvement in the chaotic press conference. It seems that Conor’s mind games have already had a major impact on Diaz’ preparation and it will be interesting to see how this changes his focus. This fight is completely different from the first. I would have to give Nate the advantage going into the rematch. He carries the experience card yet again, and he has already proven that he has what it takes to defeat “The Notorious”Conor McGregor. All of the pressure falls on the Irishman. If he falls again, I believe it will be many fights before we see his arrogance, and confidence return.

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