LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor beat Nate Diaz at UFC 202. That's what the record books will show. Diaz, though, begs to differ.
The Stockton tough believes he was the rightful victor at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. He isn't sure how McGregor took a majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47) on the judges' cards.
"I didn't think for a second that I lost at the end of the fight," Diaz said after the fight. "I thought I won the fight, at least from round two since we're judging by rounds."
Diaz referenced McGregor's strategy of disengaging and going back to the center of the cage multiple times. He thought McGregor should have been docked a point or two for stalling.
"I think he did a lot of running away that in the old days or in a real fight I think you'd get pointed for it," Diaz said. "Or in boxing you'd get pointed for it. So I think they should have taken a point from him for running and I think I would have brought the action it would have been less of a fight. I didn't think I lost for a second, until it was over. Until they said so."
McGregor dropped Diaz in the first and twice in the second. Diaz stormed back and won the third. The fourth was close, but the judges gave it to McGregor. Diaz took the fifth. The draw score came from a 10-8 nod judge Glenn Trowbridge gave to Diaz in the third.
"It was just like I suspected," Diaz said. "He was gonna slow down and I was gonna speed up. I was letting him get his little things off and make him trying to do some stuff. I stepped on the gas in the third a little more than earlier."
McGregor managed to gut it out, though. Diaz would beg to differ, but he did say after the fight to Joe Rogan that McGregor did a good job. McGregor definitely made adjustments after Diaz beat him by second-round submission in the first fight at UFC 196 in March.
"He prepared to go the distance," Diaz said. "He said he was gonna come in and come forward and walk me down and put his same pressure and do the same things as usual. I thought that it was a little strategy to make me think that. I thought he was gonna spread it out a little and he did, he spread it out a little."
That preparation included bringing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Dillon Danis and boxer Connor Wallace to his training camp. Diaz said McGregor learned that — bringing in top guys from specific disciplines — from him.
"He followed the leader," Diaz said. "He hired all these people now for jobs. But who taught you how to do that? Your sensei here, man."
Diaz gave McGregor props and said he's run the fight back at 155 pounds, like McGregor wants to do in the future. But in his mind, there was only one winner Saturday night. And he wasn't Irish.
"He's going to the hospital, I think," Diaz said, "And I'm going to the after party."