Rafael dos Anjos expected that Conor McGregor would eventually taste defeat inside the UFC Octagon, but even he was surprised by what unfolded on Saturday, when his hand-picked replacement Nate Diaz lit the McGregor caravan ablaze and submitted the UFC featherweight champion with a stunning second-round rear-naked choke at UFC 196.
“Honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought [McGregor] would win,” dos Anjos admitted Monday on The MMA Hour. “He did his best because he had a lot of guys offer to fight him; Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, guys in shape, guys in fight camps. So he picked Nate Diaz, who wasn’t training for sure. Like [Diaz] said, he didn’t spar once for this fight. And he submitted him. So [McGregor] picked the easiest one on his mind, that’s why I thought he was going to win.
“But Nate Diaz is a tough opponent. I’ve fought him. He’s a really hard guy to finish, has a lot of heart, but he’s different than Conor. Conor did not show a lot of heart. He’s a lion when he’s punching somebody, but when he’s getting punched, he becomes a cat. A little cat. When he’s punching somebody, he’s a lion. But when people punch him, he becomes a cat.”
The fight was one to watch for dos Anjos, as the UFC’s reigning lightweight champion was the man originally selected to be McGregor’s opponent at UFC 196 before a broken foot suffered two weeks’ out from fight night led to his withdrawal, spoiling McGregor’s attempt at making history by becoming the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously.
Instead, McGregor fought a welterweight showcase against Diaz, and dos Anjos watched a downfall that he knew would eventually arrive, even if he didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
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Source:: mma fighting