Conor McGregor moved up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 196 on March 5. Gutsy? Sure. But Diaz ended up choking out McGregor in the second round.
Now, McGregor is looking for a rematch in the same weight class where he suffered the defeat. Featherweight, McGregor's typical weight class, requires fighters to weigh in between 135 and 145 pounds. Welterweight, Diaz's typical weight class, requires fighters to weigh in between 155 and 170 pounds. Instead of lobbying for the two to meet in the middle for a Lightweight battle, McGregor wants another Welterweight fight.
"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 recently told ESPN. "I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that."
By "ate up to the weight," McGregor was referring to the fact that he pretty much ate whatever he wanted. When he found out the fight was going to be at the 170-pound limit, he stopped working with nutritionist George Lockhart. McGregor's diet leading up to UFC 196 included double breakfasts, Brazilian barbecue and tons of red meat. In January, McGregor told reporters it was "steaks every day for (him). Steaks for breakfast. Steaks for lunch. Steaks for brunch."
One of the main principles of Lockhart's approach to nutrition is to cut down on red meat and replace it with things like salmon and vegetables. Since red meat can take a long time for the body to digest, it's not necessarily a good thing to eat during a heavy training schedule.
In a February interview with Tristar Gym, Lockhart said, "Chicken, fish, things like that, it takes about 6 hours for your body to digest. Steak and red meat, it can take about 10 hours for your body to digest, or even longer than that. But if it's taking that long for your body to break something down and use for energy ... think of getting ready to go practice or go train ... your body is sitting there and digesting, and you might say 'oh yeah, Coach, I had a great practice,' [but] it's impossible for you to have a 100-percent practice. Because your body is trying to do two things at once. It's very difficult. You don't want to be trying to digest this stuff. A lot of fighters I've worked with, they'll have steaks on a weekend or a day off. Having a steak once a week is more than enough."
Obviously, McGregor veered away from that advice pretty drastically leading up to UFC 196. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his conditioning and endurance seemed to suffer, allowing Diaz to get the best of him in the second round. "The first eight minutes of the fight was easy," McGregor said. "Once the gas tank went, that was it. I drowned."
In anticipation of the rematch, McGregor is now back working with Lockhart full time, and it sounds like the steak-heavy diet has been shelved. "Look at me right now," McGregor said. "Fish, red cabbage, asparagus—I'm nowhere near a fight, and I'm on the clock with nutrition." Additionally, he's brought in experts that will help him measure his cardiovascular output as he trains.
Better conditioning and nutrition could be the perfect recipe for McGregor to exact his revenge.
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