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Conor McGregor says he's solely focused on Nate Diaz, not his division

Conor McGregor is ready to put all of the nonsensical distractions behind him and focus on getting revenge against the last man who beat him.

In an interview with ESPN, the UFC featherweight champion explained why he sought a rematch with Nate Diaz, who campaigns at lightweight, at the welterweight limit. The only reason their first fight was at 170 pounds was because it was on short notice after McGregor’s original opponent, Rafael dos Anjos, was sidelined with an injury less than two weeks before the fight.Nate Diaz lands a punch on Conor McGregor during their UFC 196 fight. (Getty)

McGregor’s decision to face Diaz at 170 pounds would prove to be a mistake as the bigger Diaz was able to absorb McGregor’s punching power, wear the smaller man down and secure a second-round submission victory.

Although the fight has yet to be booked after their original date at UFC 200 was scratched, McGregor is determined to get the rematch under the same circumstances.

"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,'" McGregor said to ESPN. "I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that."

The extra size did McGregor no favors and appeared to affect his conditioning. After a first round where McGregor dominated in the standup, the Irishman was visibly gassed out midway through the second frame and Diaz took full advantage of the opportunity to pounce on his winded prey.

"The first eight minutes of the fight was easy," McGregor said. "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.”

The 27-year-old’s statements aren’t unfounded as he bloodied Diaz with a litany of power shots throughout the first round. Looking back, McGregor says his fight-week preparations may have harmed more than helped and he’s certain that his training will be far more intricate this time around.

As for the 145-pound title, it doesn’t seem that he’s too eager to defend it for the first time. The man who he defeated for the title, Jose Aldo, will face Frankie Edgar for the interim title at UFC 200 and McGregor says that his interest in returning to the division may be piqued once he sees another man walking around with a world title. But, right now, all of his focus is on Diaz.

"I didn't see a challenge there anymore,” McGregor said about the featherweight division. “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."

 

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