"It was a hell of a fight and he's a hell of a competitor. He brought out the best in me," McGregor said after the fight
Conor McGregor came through a five round epic to beat Nate Diaz via majority decision at UFC 202.
McGregor, seeking to avenge his UFC 196 submission loss to Diaz, dominated the opening two rounds of the bout, but had to withstand a barrage of punches in the final three rounds, where at many points looked drained of all energy.
The 27-year-old started the aggressor, landing a number of strong leg kicks on Diaz and putting together a number of excellent combinations. After the opening round, Diaz had already been cut and McGregor looked in control.
For the majority of the second round it looked like more of the same. McGregor managed to tumble Diaz with punches on two occasions during the fight, but allowed the Stockton fighter to get back to his feet.
In the final minute of the second, Diaz began to grow more into the fight and landed a number of heavy strikes on McGregor.
Diaz looked to utilise the clinch to drain McGregor in the third round, but the pair continued to trade blows as McGregor worked on the standing leg of his American counterpart.
The fight looked destined not to go the full distance as McGregor tired and Diaz continued to keep pressure on the Irishman with some relentless blows to the head.
On more than one occasion did McGregor need to walk away from Diaz after an exchange to grab his breath and sensing this Diaz began to mock the featherweight champion.
But the Crumlin native endured a grueling final two rounds, supported by John Kavanagh in his corner, and emerged with a majority decision.
Two judges had 48-47, one had it 47-47 #UFC202— Newstalk Sport (@NewstalkSport) August 21, 2016
"He took them better than I expected, he didn't show me and he didn't let me know," McGregor told Joe Rogan of his own early kicking.
"Then that toughness and that durability that he has crept back in in the later rounds. I'm still happy to come away with the win. It was a hell of a fight and he's a hell of a competitor. He brought out the best in me.
"I just stayed calm, I didn't change my plan... As my coach said, we win or we learn. We learned from the last contest."
The pair were quick to push for a deciding (and lucrative) third 'trilogy' fight. McGregor's attention will now turn to Jose Aldo as he goes back to featherweight to defend his title.
Reports were that he broke his foot during the fight however respect MMA journalist Ariel Helwani tweeted:
McGregor: I kicked his knee about 40 times. My shin is killing me. That's it. It's the shin. Other than that, I'm perfect.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 21, 2016