Leading up to UFC 196, the consensus seems to be that if the headlining bout between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor hits the floor, the latter could be in some trouble. Not surprisingly, however, McGregor claims he isn’t overly concerned about Diaz’s ground game.
Anyone who has followed Diaz over the years, knows that he has scored several, memorable submission wins. Not only that, but the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt has tapped out some legit guys on the floor. As in fellow black belts like Alvin Robinson, Kurt Pellegrino and Jim Miller. In other words, there’s not too many guys who would choose to test Diaz’s guard for a few minutes, if they didn’t have to.
Well, in the latest episode of “UFC Tonight“, McGregor was asked about Diaz’s ground skills, and the featherweight champ said this (quote via FOX Sports’ press release):
“His jiu-jitsu is overrated. I see opportunities to pass his guard. I’ll bang it out and I’ll keep it on the feet. When he goes down, he rolls out to get out, I’ll pass his guard, mount him, pound him out or look for the choke.”
There you have it. Now, could McGregor just be saying this? As part of his ever ongoing, mental game? Or does he actually believe Diaz isn’t as good on the ground as most people think?
Well, certainly there have been opponents, like Rory MacDonald, who engaged Diaz on the ground and went on to win. So, perhaps McGregor does believe he’ll be fine if the fight spills to the floor. But, as he noted, chances are we’re not going to see McGregor shooting a bunch of double legs on Saturday. If we do, and McGregor escapes unscathed, then he will have definitely answered a few more questions about his grappling tools.
UFC 196 will go down at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the co-headliner, bantamweight champ Holly Holm will take on perennial contender, Miesha Tate.