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Conor McGregor reflects on 'easy' Nate Diaz fight, UFC interim title he created to revive 'dead' division

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Note to welterweights: Do NOT perform any sort of gymnastics during fight week.

Sorry, Georges.

That's a hard lesson Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Conor McGregor learned when he moved up in weight to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 196, an "easy" fight for about the first eight minutes -- until he ran out of gas and got submitted in the second stanza.

"Notorious" reflects to ESPN:

"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.' I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that. The first eight minutes of the fight was easy. 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. Swinging on gymnastic rings on fight week isn't the best thing. Usually, I wrap myself in bubble wrap and only do fight-specific things, but just because of that weight, no weight cut, I had put it in my head that, 'I'm free.' I had energy to burn. I was doing so much bounce footwork, the balls of my feet were burned to a crisp. Looking back, it was ridiculous. I don't know what I was thinking."

He was thinking "panic mode."

With UFC 196 in the books, McGregor quickly turned his attention to a welterweight rematch at UFC 200, a bout that was torpedoed after the promotion refused to yield to his pre-fight demands. "Notorious" quickly mended fences, but the other half of the equation is still a mystery.

And what about his responsibilities at featherweight?

"It was my idea," McGregor told Brett Okamoto about the creation of an interim title. "That division was killed, it was dead. Jose [Aldo] went down in 13 seconds. What more can I do? I didn't see a challenge there anymore. 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," he continued. "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."

I guess McGregor doesn't see this guy as much of a challenge.

In his absence, Jose Aldo -- who surrendered the 145-pound strap at UFC 194 -- will now compete for the temporary title against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at the aforementioned UFC 200 pay-per-view (PPV) event next month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For more on how that came to be click here.

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