Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor are two of the most popular and polarizing fighters in the UFC. They have faced each other twice in the octagon, with each fighter winning once. Their rivalry is fueled by their contrasting personalities, styles, and trash talk.
The first fight between Diaz and McGregor took place at UFC 196 in March 2016. McGregor was originally scheduled to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title, but dos Anjos pulled out due to injury. Diaz stepped in as a late replacement, and agreed to fight McGregor at welterweight. McGregor was the heavy favorite, as he was coming off a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo to win the featherweight title. Diaz, on the other hand, was a perennial contender who had not fought for a year.
The fight was a shocker, as Diaz weathered McGregor’s early onslaught and submitted him with a rear-naked choke in the second round. It was the first loss of McGregor’s UFC career, and one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Diaz became an instant star, and McGregor vowed to get his revenge.
The rematch took place at UFC 202 in August 2016. McGregor demanded to fight Diaz at welterweight again, despite the advice of his coaches and teammates. He wanted to prove that he could beat Diaz at his own game. The fight was a classic, as both fighters exchanged brutal strikes and showed incredible heart. McGregor dropped Diaz three times in the first two rounds, but Diaz came back strong in the third and fourth. The fifth round was a close one, with both fighters landing significant shots. The judges scored the fight 48-47, 47-47, and 48-47 for McGregor, giving him a majority decision win. It was the most-watched UFC pay-per-view of all time, and one of the best fights ever.
Since then, both fighters have gone their separate ways, but their rivalry remains unresolved. McGregor went on to win the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez, but then lost to Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match and Khabib Nurmagomedov in a UFC title fight. He also had a brief retirement, legal troubles, and injuries. Diaz took a three-year hiatus, and then returned to beat Anthony Pettis in 2019. He then lost to Jorge Masvidal for the BMF belt, and then to Leon Edwards in 2021.
Both fighters have expressed interest in a trilogy fight, but it has not materialized yet. They have also reignited their feud on social media, trading insults and jabs. Fans are still hoping to see them settle the score once and for all, as they have one of the most compelling and entertaining rivalries in MMA history.