Connor McGregor, who over the last few years, has parlayed a good left hand and a gift with the microphone, into a stint as the biggest star in Mixed Martial Arts, delivered this epic rant last week concerning his upcoming opponent Nate Diaz, who he fought Saturday night.
“ You are like a gazelle,” said the Irish Champion. “With your little gazelle friends, bunching up together hoping to be safe.” McGregor was referring to Diaz’s dreaded crew of training partners which includes Nate’s older brother Nick, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez
“But I’m a lion,” said McGregor as Diaz sulked “ and I’m going to eat you alive.”
Warming up McGregor continued “I stalked you and now I’ve got you, and Saturday night I’m going to eat your carcass in front of your little gazelle friends and all they’ll be able to say is ‘ We’ll never cross this river again.’
Mr. Diaz, who had more experience than McGregor and was the bigger of the two commented pointedly, “ You don’t believe that.”
When it came down to it last Saturday night, McGregor did do his best to devour Mr. Diaz, for a while. He came out guns blazing. In the first round he nearly decapitated Diaz several times with his vaunted striking ability and by the end of the initial round Diaz was bleeding heavily from several cuts around his eyes.
In the second, however, the fight took a most Un Leonine turn for McGregor. He tired quickly and found himself exhausted against a bigger fighter famous for getting stronger and stronger the longer a fight goes.
In the deep water against a world-class opponent for the first time in his career McGregor panicked. He shot in for a sloppy takedown, which Diaz, a highly skilled grappler easily negated. After a meek bit of resistance McGregor rolled to his back giving up and easy chokehold and submitting almost immediately.
The sporting world was shocked at the upset but, in retrospect, a knowledgeable fan should have seen it coming. In 2013 book Fightnomics, a book, which breaks, down MMA into hard data and analyses the sport dispassionately, (its been as the MMA version of MonyeBall), these prophetic statistics are addressed:
The relationship between pre fight hype and odds. P 227
The importance of setting the pace in a fight. P 106
That Nate Diaz has been on the end of the among most slams in UFC history p.125
That Nate Diaz has among the most submission victories. P133
How even though two fighters can weigh the same one can be the larger man. P 138
The comparative lack of success of shooting takedowns. P119
The disastrous effect of fatigue. P 74
That the most dangerous round in which to be submitted is round 2. P 136
Also in the book is that the rear naked choke, the technique to which Mr. McGregor succumbed, is the submission technique with the highest success percentage in MMA. Not in the book, but also of note, is this: the Brazilians who perfected the rear naked choke as a pat of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, nickname the maneuver the Mate Leone, which means in Portuguese, “Lion Killer.”