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Conor McGregor: Nate Diaz was ‘like Homer Simpson’ at UFC 196

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LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor has spent five months talking about his view of what happened between he and Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March. The brash Irishman debuted a new analogy Friday night.

McGregor, the UFC's featherweight champion, compared Diaz to Homer Simpson in the "The Simpsons" episode where he begins boxing Friday at a gym day here in Vegas. Diaz, of course, beat McGregor by second-round submission after a war of a first eight minutes.

"You ever see that episode of The Simpsons where Homer starts boxing?" McGregor said. "He's competing, he's just sitting in the ring and getting the head slapped off him. Boom, boom, boom. And then just the guy can't punch him no more. And then Homer tips him and the guy falls over. That was similar. That's the way Nate was in that fight. He was like Homer Simpson. He just took the shots until I couldn't hit him no more. He's gonna be no different this fight. He's gonna just take the shots and hope that I can't hit him no more. Only, I'm gonna be still there poking him in the face. So, I look forward to it."

The two will meet again in the main event of UFC 202 on Aug. 20 here in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena. McGregor is trying to avenge the first loss of his UFC run. The first bout took place at 170 pounds when McGregor usually competes at 145 and Diaz is a typical 155-pounder. And the second fight will be at the same weight.

Both were McGregor's choice. And that change in weight — and the cardio issues that came with it — have been one of McGregor's explanations as to what occurred when Diaz weathered the storm and came back to defeat him in March.

McGregor (19-3) believes he has those problems solved and he's predicting a second-round knockout of Diaz this time around.

"I feel I was close," McGregor said. "I feel like if there was a little more in the tank, I would have stopped him in the second round. So I feel I will be prepared for five. I will go in anticipating five. I didn't give him respect. He could take a hell of a smack, the boy can. But he will take a hell of a lot more. I still feel like I'll repay the favor second round."

"The Notorious" isn't necessarily saying there will be a change in strategy. Just improved endurance.

"I'm still gonna go after the boy," McGregor said. "I'm still gonna put him against that fence and I'm still gonna bust that soft skin up. He might have a rough chin, but he's got soft skin. So I'm gonna open that face up real nice. The difference will be I will still be there in the late rounds. I'll still be at that tempo."

Diaz will likely be there, too, though. His durability and cardio is without question. So are his substantial skills in boxing and on the ground. McGregor said he didn't respect Diaz enough the first time around and that has changed — even if he's still calling him things like a "heavy bag with eyes."

"It's a challenge I have," McGregor said. "He's a big, slow Mexican beanbag. But I'm gonna take another stab at it. Second round. Mystic Mac."