Mystic Mac returns as Conor McGregor predicts he'll finish Nate Diaz in the second round

The Dubliner has been his usual confident self in the build up

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will once again face off at UFC 202 as the Irishman looks to get revenge for his loss in their first meeting

Plenty has gone on in the interval, as McGregor and the UFC fell out, pushing the fight back from the organisation's flagship event UFC 200 in July, but it appears that the extra time afforded to him for this bout has been used wisely. 

In a media conference call with a number of journalists, McGregor paid tribute to the challenge that Diaz had presented to him in their first fight, noting that he hadn't properly assessed the threat the Stockton native posed the first time out.

Stating that his camp were specifically training for and focusing on an opponent for the first time, McGregor said "I feel absolutely amazing, I've prepared phenomenal. I didn't given enough credit to Nate's durability, his experience. He's a very experienced fighter; he's had more UFC fights than I've had fights.

"His height and his range and his reactions, I gave no respect to that," added McGregor.

Just when it sounded like he was paying his opponent a compliment, he decided to make sure that Diaz knew what was in store for him, saying: "For the first round and a half he was a heavy big with eyeballs [...] this time I've been preparing to face a durable, experienced fighter who has the reach, the height, and the length. I feel very confident that we'll go in and get this one back."

McGregor, who gave himself the nickname Mystic Mac after successfully predicting the round in which he would finish a number of his opponents, suggested that he maybe made a mistake in stating that he would end the bout against Diaz early. 

Suggesting that it had affected his thinking as he looked to secure a knockout blow, McGregor said: "I did go out to KO him in the first round, I marched forward and backed him up against the fence and teed off on his head. I did what I said I would but respect to him, he was durable, he was experienced, he weathered the storm"

That didn't stop him from making another prediction this time out however, as the prescient pugilist predicted that it would all be over in the second round. 

"This time I'm still going to march forward," said McGregor, "I'm still going to press him, I'm still going to bust him, there's just going to be a lot more in my tank. I'm going to be a lot more prepared for a man who can stay in there with me.

"But even still, I struggle to give him past round three. If I was to make a prediction, which I will right now, I believe I will repay the favour and KO him inside the second round."

The Dubliner was originally supposed to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 196, before the bout was rescheduled to include Diaz instead. Confident that he would have been victorious against the Brazilian, McGregor said that he wasn't dwelling on that, but rather focusing on how the chance to avenge a loss now makes this the biggest fight of his career to date.

"Realistically I should be a two-weight UFC world champion. If I fought Rafael dos Anjos, if he didn't p***y out of that last one and showed up, the shots I cracked Nate with in the first eight minutes of that round would have knocked Rafael dos Anjos out stiff, that's no question. I'd be sitting here as a two-weight world champion." 

"It forced me to look at my preparation, look at the route I was going. It forced me to reassess. I'm happy that this happened, but make no mistake, this one means a hell of a lot to me, this one means a lot more than any amount of gold or money combined."

He stated that he has turned down a number of press opportunities, as well as a movie role to make sure that he is as prepared as he can be. 

"I wanted to solely focus on this, so that should tell you how much this fight means to me, and I've been preparing accordingly."