Diaz/McGregor Preview: The bigger the risk the greater the reward
A second dance with Nate Diaz is undoubtedly an ominous risk for Conor McGregor, but the potential rewards are extraordinary, particularly for the Dubliner’s legacy.
What makes an immediate rematch with UFC veteran Nate Diaz at 170 pounds on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, such a momentous challenge for ‘The Notorious’?
In June 1936, unbeaten boxer Joe Louis fought former heavyweight champion Max Schmeling of Germany.
Although America’s sweetheart Joe Louis was the ‘star’, Max Schmeling, 30 at the time, had something Louis didn’t have, years of experience at the highest level.
It’s a story similar to McGregor vs Diaz, or in other words, the ‘star’ vs the ‘experienced campaigner’.
Schmeling crushed Louis’s winning streak with a 12th round stoppage that left the biggest name in combat sports lying sombrely on the deck.
But that’s where the similarities end. Louis was advised to wait two years before going after Schmeling for revenge. By that time Louis had racked up eleven consecutive wins and was heavyweight champion of the world.
McGregor is heeding no such advice, instead opting for a rematch right away. No tune up fights, no gaining more time in the octagon before jumping back in with a seasoned professional who has already beaten him once.
Would Joe Louis have annihilated Max Schmeling in round one of their rematch without the two year learning gap? Who knows.
But this “obsession” of McGregor ought to be respected and admired whether he wins, loses or draws on Saturday at UFC 202.
As McGregor asks, ‘Who else is doing this in the fight game?’
By pursuing redemption over Diaz, UFC featherweight champion McGregor is stalling his quest of being a two weight champion.
It’s also adding to speculation that if he leaves it any longer without defending his belt, he will soon be stripped.
But McGregor is willing to sacrifice placing such ambitions on hold as he looks to prove a point to himself, that his second round rear naked choke loss to Nate Diaz in March can be corrected.
That is the type of mixed martial artist McGregor is, a combatant striving for perfection.
It would have been understandable for McGregor to retreat to the lower weights and re-establish his dominance from there.
But McGregor is fearlessly attracted to danger, a reason why so many combat sports fans are captivated by his brave mystique.
The Irishman is a throwback fighter; one that you rarely find in the 21st Century, a warrior imploring any challenger to face him.
On Saturday night, enjoy this display of unrivalled courage, because we seldom see comparable risks being approved by fighters today.
If Conor McGregor overturns his defeat to the bigger, stronger and venerable Nate Diaz, it would be a triumph embedded into MMA folklore.
It would also help immortalise the rapidly growing McGregor legacy.
But Nate Diaz stands in the way of that. A fighter who can take a wincing amount of punishment and still conquer his opponent.
It’s a mammoth task Conor McGregor is undertaking, but if he were to pull it off, it’s unimaginable to contemplate what else he can achieve during his time in the octagon.
Image Source: www.foxsports.com