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Conor McGregor: 'The first 8 minutes' of the Nate Diaz fight 'was easy'

UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor talked about his loss to Nate Diaz, and how close he was to knocking him out before "the gas tank went."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the current in-thing to discuss is a possible Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing match, there is unfinished business with regards to McGregor's loss to Nate Diaz. The UFC featherweight champion was choked out by Diaz, who accepted the fight on short-notice, in a welterweight main event at UFC 196 back in March. Plans for an immediate rematch, also at 170, were shelved after he was pulled from UFC 200 for not wanting to fulfill media obligations.

As it stands right now, the UFC is reportedly targeting McGregor vs. Diaz 2 for August 20th, and in an interview with ESPN, Conor discussed why he wanted the rematch at 170, as opposed to 155.

"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,'" McGregor said. "I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that."

McGregor took round 1 over Diaz, but Nate dominated the final minutes of the 2nd round, as a gassed and badly hurt McGregor desperately dove for a takedown and found himself tapping to a rear-naked choke just moments later. If you ask McGregor, however, he was picking apart Nate and was on the verge of knocking him out.

"The first eight minutes of the fight was easy," McGregor said. "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."

McGregor (19-3) also noted that he is now working with nutritionist George Lockhart year-round -- he did not use his services for the Diaz fight -- and has "brought in experts to monitor his cardiovascular output." After all, McGregor did say he was "inefficient with his energy" in the post-fight interview.

While McGregor is focused on the Diaz rematch, the featherweight division will have Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar compete for the interim belt at UFC 200. McGregor's future in the division remains uncertain, but he claims that he spurred the move for an interim title in a division where he won the championship all of a few months ago.

"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. 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."