Despite losing to Nate Diaz via second-round submission back at UFC 196, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight king Conor McGregor is confident in his grappling skills heading into the rematch at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 live on pay-per-view from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While the world-renowned knockout artist has trained alongside Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout Gunnar Nelson throughout his career, McGregor has sought out the help of BJJ phenom Dillon Danis. During Friday's (Aug. 5, 2016) UFC 202 media conference call, the 28-year-old McGregor discussed his ground game opposite that of Diaz. While all three of McGregor's career defeats have come by way of submission, the Irish superstar seems more than ready to tangle limbs with the Stockton submission specialist.
"I'm confident in my jiu-jitsu," said McGregor. "Nate is very skilled on the mat. I don't think the difference between us in that fight was the jiu-jitsu. I think it was the durability, the endurance, the experience. I think that was the difference."
"When we were both fresh, I ended up on the mat, he caught that kick from that takedown he does and I swept him. So, I was on top controlling the first round. He tried a triangle, I stopped that. He looked to pass, he looked to tie me up with the legs, I was landing shots. I am confident on the mat with Nate. And now, after that, I brought in heavier people, more experienced jiu-jitsu people to come and push me daily, so I will be experienced for the jiu-jitsu in the later rounds also."
While McGregor said he didn't feel the weight of Diaz in their first encounter, he may have trouble with the revamped Lightweight this time around. And considering Diaz has made a living out of scrambling, transitioning and finishing on the mat, McGregor may bite off more than he can chew if he willingly drags the action to the Octagon canvas.
Check out the full UFC 202 media conference call video here.
Mania will have complete UFC 202 coverage, play-by-play and analysis come fight time.