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Conor McGregor predicts he'll knock out Nate Diaz 'inside the first round'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Mystic Mac's predictions are starting to get a little repetitive. Maybe that's what a 13-second knockout of one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world will do.

Conor McGregor predicted that he will finish Nate Diaz via knockout before the end of the first round at a UFC 196 press conference Wednesday here at UFC Gym. The two will fight in the main event of the card March 5 in Las Vegas.

Diaz was only installed into this fight Tuesday. McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, was supposed to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title, but dos Anjos broke his foot and was forced out. Diaz was McGregor's top pick and it's obvious he's someone "The Notorious" has thought about facing.

"I respect Nate," McGregor said. "Don't get me wrong, I do respect Nate. There are a lot of pussies in this game and he is not one of them. Don't get me wrong. There's a respect there between us, but it's business in there. And business is business. He will be KO'd inside the first round."

That was the same prediction McGregor made for dos Anjos at a press conference last month. He predicted he would knock out Aldo in the first round and did so. Pretty much all of his other prognostications came to fruition as well, including a second-round knockout of Chad Mendes and a first-round KO of Dustin Poirier.

McGregor (19-2) seems to know a great deal about Diaz, even though the booking of this fight was less than 24 hours old when the press conference occurred. Diaz is coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 in December.

"I feel his repetitive foot patterns and his poor motions are too readable, too predictable," McGregor said. "He'll be too slow in there. His speed will stifle him. His soft body and his lack of preparation, he will not be able to handle the ferocity."

Diaz (18-10) and McGregor went back and forth plenty Wednesday. There were f-bombs lobbed, steroid accusations and a palpable intensity. But when Diaz was asked about a prediction or strategy, he was pretty succinct.

"Yeah, I'm just gonna kill or be killed," he said. "That's what I'm coming with."