DUBLIN – How profoundly poignant it was that, at the launch of a book entitled “Win or Learn,” Conor McGregor and John Kavanagh consistently, and often without prompting, made somber reference to the most devastating defeat of their decade-long partnership. Almost four months have passed since Nate Diaz (19-10 MMA, 14-8 UFC) ruthlessly strangled McGregor (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) into submission at UFC 196. In the dying embers of the second round of the main event bout at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, Diaz locked in the rear-naked choke heard ’round the world , and the UFC featherweight champion was compelled to contemplate a loss for the first time in close to six years. While it was not quite an upset of the same proportions as Holly Holm’s usurping of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 last November, the Californian, on just 11 days’ notice, had conjured a seismic shock. Of course, McGregor had originally been slated to face lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos for the opportunity to become the first man ever to concurrently hold two UFC titles, but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw with a foot injury.
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