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Morning Report: Conor McGregor says he 'slapped the head off' Nate Diaz, is ready for his revenge at 170

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UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor says he was beating up Nate Diaz before his cardio issues caused him to lose and that next time he won't make the same pre-fight mistakes.

Esther Lin

Conor McGregor might be putting the Floyd Mayweather Jr talk on hold.

Though there has been much talk recently about the possibility of McGregor boxing Mayweather, it seems he still has his sights set on a rematch with Nate Diaz. Recently, McGregor spoke with ESPN about rematching Diaz and why he wanted to fight at 170 lbs. again.

"What kind of fighter would I be, if I said, 'Hey, I didn't get you at 170, let me try to get you at 155.' I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that."

By most accounts, McGregor won the first round against Diaz, landing the more powerful offense; however, near the end of the first round Diaz began to surge while McGregor faded. In the second round Diaz began landing cleaner and more often, eventually rocking the featherweight champion with a right hand which led to the fight ending choke. But McGregor is of the belief that Diaz was almost defeated when he hit McGregor with the fight changing combination.

"The first eight minutes of the fight was easy. Let's be honest, I slapped the head off him. Once the gas tank went, that was it. I drowned. He landed that one punch that rang the bell and went, '[Gasp,] I'm back.' He was close to being done. One or two more shots and he would have been wrapped up."

This is, in essence, a furthering of the answer McGregor gave in the immediate aftermath of the loss. In the post-fight interviews that evening, McGregor said it was his own mismanagement of energy and effective offense which caused him to lose. While many would have expected the fighter coming in on ten days notice to be the one with the cardio issues, it was McGregor who gassed out early. He blames this on his change in preparation when the fight was changed to a 170 lb. contest.

"Swinging on gymnastic rings on fight week isn't the best thing. Usually, I wrap myself in bubble wrap and only do fight-specific things, but just because of that weight, no weight cut, I had put it in my head that, 'I'm free.' I had energy to burn. I was doing so much bounce footwork, the balls of my feet were burned to a crisp. Looking back, it was ridiculous. I don't know what I was thinking."

These aren't mistakes McGregor intends to make again. In the interview, McGregor notes that he is now working with nutritionist George Lockhart year round as well as other scientific and medical experts to maximmize his training. But who the training is for remains uncertain.Diaz is assumed to be the next targeted bout but there has been no official line on when or if that bout will be scheduled.

Then there is also the matter of the featherweight division which McGregor currently rules over. Many have speculated that McGregor cannot or will not make the weight cut anymore and that the interim belt which Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar are scheduled to fight for at UFC 200 will be the de facto featherweight championship. McGregor denies this claims and says that he was the one who thought up the idea to have Aldo and Edgar rematch.

"It was my idea. I wanted to have my revenge at 170, and they're crying and complaining about the 145-pound belt, which I just won three months ago. That division was killed, it was dead. Jose went down in 13 seconds. What more can I do? I traveled the world with that man. I finally got him in the Octagon, and he only lasts 13 seconds.

I didn't see a challenge there anymore. So, I wanted to create interest from a fan's perspective and my perspective. I want to see them two go at it, with an interim belt on the line. Then I will see people walking around my division with a belt and that will intrigue me. It will make me want that belt again."

Whenever McGregor does return it appears he will have a full schedule with Diaz, the Aldo-Edgar winner, and Mayweather all in the air. Let's hope it's soon.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

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Shootout. Valentina Shecvchenko is unharmed after being caught amidst a chaotic shootout in Peru.

Hype job. Luke Rockhold thinks Chris Weidman would have been an easier opponent than Michael Bisping.

Head games. Jon Jones calls Daniel Cormier a paper champ after Cormier posts to Instagram.

Anderson Silva money. Jeremy Stephens tops UFC Fight Night 88 payroll with $100,000.

Still a thing that happens. The UFC announced the cast members of TUF Latin America 3.

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EXTRA CREDIT READING

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In memoriam. Damon Martin of Fox Sports remembers MMA luminary Ryan Bennett, who died 10 years ago yesterday.

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MEDIA STEW

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Bisping's son refusing to pick his dad to win is cooooooold.

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Countdown for Rockhold-Bisping 2.

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Fun video looking back on one of the best MMA fights ever.

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This training is a horror show and it's a genuine tragedy that we won't get to see the full potential of Ronda and her off the charts athletic gifts.

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More importantly JCVD gotta teach them how to do this.

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LISTEN UP

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Anik and Florian recapping the weekend.

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BJ Penn and UFC 199 talk.

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Fight Night breakdowns.

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TWEETS

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The champ is here.

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I do not imagine this is gonna do gangbusters on PPV.

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This fight seems perfect to book.

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The Google machine tells me that Khorne is a character(?) from Warkhammer 40k known as "the Blood God, the Lord of Battles, and the Hunter of Souls." AKA Fedor.

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Jackson-Wink getting after DC for this one.

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I wish elite level fighters would hire writers rather than throw out trash talk like "doucheylukey."

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Point, DC.

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Olympian wrestlers ride or die for each other

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Gotta respect the hustle. Out there trying to get that title shot.

I want you to watch this with me Saturday #ufc #mma #fortlauderdale #miami #yoelromero #rockhold #bisping

A photo posted by Yoel Romero (@yoelromeromma) on 

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This ish is dope.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Jack Hermansson (13-2-0) vs. Scott Askham (14-2-0)UFC Fight Night: Hamburg, September 3.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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2008: Urijah Faber defeated former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver to retain his WEC featherweight championship in the main event of WEC 34. The co-main event featured Miguel Torres defending his bantamweight championship by defeating Yoshiro Maeda. Also on the card was the WEC/Zuffa debut of future MMA legend Jose Aldo who blew the doors off longtime Shooto 145 lb. champion Alexandre Franca Noguiera.

2012: Martin Kampmann earned the final victory of his career, stopping Jake Ellenberger with knees in the second round of the main event at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale after nearly being finished in the first round. Also, in the lightweight tournament finals, Michael Chiesa submitted Al Iaquinta with a first round rear-naked choke to claim the moniker of Ultimate Fighter.

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Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.