Current UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has been beaten by American Nate Diaz via submission in a shock loss at the UFC 196 event in Las Vegas.
It took just two rounds for Diaz to get the Irishman where he wanted him -- on the ground. There the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt pounded McGregor’s face again and again before getting his back and finishing him with a rear naked choke.
The victory took many by surprise, especially as it came quickly -- near the end of the second round.
Speaking after the fight, McGregor said it was always a gamble to compete up a category in welterweight when he was traditionally a featherweight.
“I took the chance coming to 170 (pounds),”McGregor said.
“Nate came in and I felt I took him in the first round but I was inefficient with my energy. I’m humble in victory and humble or defeat.”
“I respect Nate. He came in and took the fight on short notice at 170 and did the job.”
Diaz did indeed take the fight at short notice, after lightweight strap holder Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from his scheduled title fight against McGregor with a broken foot.
It also meant McGregor conceded height, reach, and weight advantages to Diaz.
Earlier, Miesha Tate defeated Holly Holm -- also with a rear naked choke -- to take the bantamweight title.
The submission came after the pair traded kicks and punches, and Tate showed off her technical groundwork with a double-leg takedown before sinking the choke in the fifth round to put Holm out.
It means Holm loses the champion crown she gained last November after knocking out Ronda Rousey via neck kick in Melbourne.
Speaking after the fight, Tate said she knew she had to keep hold of the choke.
“I thought I had to be like a pit bull on a bone,” Tate said.
“I couldn’t let go of it.”