Former two-division champion Conor McGregor did look a little flat at UFC 229, and fans weren’t the only ones that noticed.
Speaking to FOX Sports in a recent interview (h/t Damon Martin of MMA Weekly), UFC fan favorite Nick Diaz said the Irishman didn’t look ‘himself’ against defending champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted McGregor in the fourth round to retain his lightweight title.
“I don’t think Conor looked himself in that fight. I don’t think he looked all 100-percent Conor McGregor in that fight,” Diaz said. “I wanted him to win because I’m tired of seeing that type of style to win. To me it’s just a dirty fighting style.”
McGregor, who was out-grappled and out-struck by Khabib, hadn’t fought inside the Octagon in almost two years prior to UFC 229. The 30-year-old has called for a rematch with Nurmagomedov but Diaz believes he could be the one to hand the undefeated Dagestani his first ever loss.
Diaz says McGregor doesn’t have the ‘bottom’ game or ‘the right formula’ to defend himself against Khabib when the fight inevitably hits the ground.
“You have to have a certain style to beat that type of wrestler on the ground. McGregor’s brand new on the bottom. I think my brother could beat him. I definitely know I could beat him,” Diaz said. “We’d have to fight at a catch weight, I ain’t trying to get down to 155 pounds.
“You’ve got to be someone like McGregor but you’ve got to be able to survive that bottom game. He didn’t have the right defense on the bottom, he didn’t have the right formula on the bottom.”
Diaz, who hasn’t fought since his controversial No Contest (NC) against Anderson Silva in 2015 (Silva tested positive for steroids and Diaz for marijuana metabolites), believes fans would be rooting for him to beat Nurmagomedov because of the champ’s ‘dirty way of fighting.’
“Two things people want out of mixed martial arts right now — it’s more of me and less of you,” he said. “Less of the wrestler, defensive boxer and wrestler puts on a boring fight. It’s just a dirty way of fighting.”