Conor McGregor has never backed down from a fight, but his journey into the welterweight division at UFC 196 did not work out, with Nate Diaz securing a submission victory in the second round Saturday.
UFC 196 marked just the third time McGregor has lost in 22 career fights, with all three coming by submission. Diaz is a renowned submission artist, with 12 of his 19 victories a result of making his opponents surrender.
One of the first comments after McGregor's loss came from the man he was originally supposed to fight:
Soft!!!!— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) March 6, 2016
Rafael dos Anjos wasn't the only UFC fighter tossing out some hyperbole after the fight, as Jose Aldo got in on the action and seemed to try setting up a main event at UFC 200 in the summer (Warning: Post contains NSFW language):
In a case of awkward and unfortunate timing, ESPN.com's Darren Rovell pointed out where McGregor's post-fight party will be taking place:
Conor McGregor's after party is scheduled for a nightclub aptly named Surrender pic.twitter.com/FseFKUpair— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 6, 2016
Diaz took to Instagram to reveal what his post-fight plans will be, posting the following on his personal account:
UFC fighters weren't the only ones in the sports world to react, as some of the biggest names in sports were quick to tweet about the fight, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
I don't know how anybody watches this sport and doesn't think it looks the the most fun you could ever have. #UFC196— Coach (@CMPunk) March 6, 2016
You gotta be careful disrespecting STOCKTON!!! always underdogs but never intimidated #ufc196— Julius Thomas (@Julius_Thomas) March 6, 2016
While McGregor's loss will be the story because he's the UFC's biggest superstar, Jon Anik of Fox Sports 1 was quick to give credit where it belonged:
McGregor largely owned the first seven minutes. Diaz rallied w/ all this tools. He's nearly impossible to put away, proved as much. WOW.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 6, 2016
UFC 196 was shaping up to be a huge night for mixed martial arts, and it turned out to be a memorable one. Not only did McGregor fall, but Holly Holm also lost to Miesha Tate in the co-main event, prompting Kyle Lewis of SiriusXM's Busted Open to offer a GIF of UFC President Dana White's press conference:
Panic may be setting in for some fans who assumed big-business matchups were on the horizon, but Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod noted this was hardly the first time the UFC has seen a megastar lose:
UFC can't afford a McGregor loss... Just like it couldn't afford a Rousey loss... or a Lesnar loss... or a George St. Pierre loss— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) March 6, 2016
Per Odds Shark, McGregor was a 1-4 betting favorite Saturday. His loss likely left a lot of people lighter in the wallet, prompting Adam Jacobi of SB Nation's Black Heart Gold Pants to make this pun:
If you wagered on McGregor tonight, I guess you’re not… Dublin your money. #UFC196— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) March 6, 2016
Sticking with Ireland, PeejeT offered the Crying Jordan meme:
Expanding things to include Ronda Rousey, 30 Second Fights figured out what the updated cover of the UFC's video game will look like:
Can't wait to play some Ufc pic.twitter.com/36LLz20MD5— 30 Second Fights (@ThirtySecFights) March 6, 2016
With McGregor's star on the rise coming into UFC 196, especially after his knockout win over Jose Aldo at UFC 194, Chachi Gonzales of America's Best Dance Crew fame offered this assessment:
No McGregor 😩😩😩 *tyra banks voice* WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! pic.twitter.com/b4v9XA8YhZ— Chachi Gonzales (@chachigonzales) March 6, 2016
Bleacher Report went with a greater television touchstone to describe the myriad of emotions everyone went through while watching UFC 196:
This will go down as a loss on McGregor's resume, but it was hardly the worst defeat in MMA history. He had never fought in the 170-pound weight class in his career. It's been more than three years since he last fought at lightweight, so this was a new task.
McGregor didn't have to take it on, but he did. He didn't get the result he was looking for. The UFC will learn from Saturday's bout and put him in position to fight at a weight he's accustomed to in the future. This is not the end of Notorious' reign on top.