Previously undefeated UFC star Conor McGregor was beaten in the second round by a resilient Nate Diaz who was “sippin’ tequila on a yacht in Cabo” ten days before stepping in to replace the injured dos Anjos.
It was a truly shocking moment in UFC history as McGregor (UFC’s first global super star in its 24 year history) was caught off guard by one of Diaz’s haymakers and put in a chokehold before tapping out.
In a thrilling and typically gruesome event, it was all over pretty quickly. The reason why it was such a shock is because UFC has always promoted McGregor’s career so fiercely and he has, undoubtedly, lifted the sport to new heights.
By far the wealthiest man in the history of the sport McGregor’s fan base is global, pre-eminent and very outspoken. His superstardom is based not only on his mesmerising ability in Mixed Marshall Arts, but also on his arrogant wit.
McGregor combines a remarkable combat ability with sharp trash-talk that has served the likes of Mohammed Ali and Sergio Garcia well in the past. Although trash-talking is an integral part of the sport it can easily come across as superficial and childish. With McGregor, though, it has always felt genuine and it really looks as if he believes it himself.
After prophetically predicting he would knock out Featherweight champion Jose Aldo in the first round- which he did, with his first punch – people who had previously no interest in the sport started to sit up and take notice.
Inevitably his first defeat has left many disappointed, especially those not particularly engaged in the sport who had bowed down to his hype and self-indulgence.
People shouldn’t be too disheartened. The fact that he moved two weight classes above his own to fight Diaz, serves testament to his bravery and ambition.
It was, however, a brutal reality check that hopefully won’t knock his confidence and pride.