Throughout March the has been conducting a poll, voted on exclusively by fight fans, to determine the best fight in the promotion’s 25-year history. This afternoon a winner was declared: the barnburning second meeting between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August 2016.
McGregor vs. Diaz II edged out Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson to take top spot in the poll, defeating Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II and Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje respectively in the semi-finals.
Somewhat bizarrely the second meeting of between McGregor and Diaz was, in a butterfly effect sort of way, made possible by a foot injury suffered by former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos days out from his scheduled title defense against McGregor in early 2016. Instead, McGregor accepted a short notice bout against Diaz at 170-pounds, a weight class in which the Irishman had never competed.
McGregor, who was battling a staph infection in the lead-in to the fight, was stopped by Diaz in the second round of what would likely have been considered as one of the premiere bouts of 2016 — that is, until the rematch happened.
At UFC 202 in Las Vegas six months later, McGregor got his chance at redemption. It was the same opponent, the same weight class but this time the result was different. Throughout five rounds McGregor and Diaz put on a battle for the ages, with the Californian showing off his almost inhuman durability in the early rounds. Diaz, dropped by McGregor on three separate occasions early in the fight, rallied as the fight went on.
McGregor, however, showed durability of his own exploding into action in the fourth, snuffing out any signs of a Diaz comeback. By the time the final bell rang and the judges rendered their scorecards McGregor had earned the redemptive feeling of erasing the one and only blemish on his UFC record.
Three months later McGregor etched his name in the mixed martial arts history books by winning the UFC lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in New York and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Greatest UFC fight of all-time – as voted on by YOU!
🏆 @NateDiaz209 vs @TheNotoriousMMA 2 – UFC 202 – Aug. 20, 2016 🏆 #UFC25Years pic.twitter.com/vjdEPwJzMY
— UFC (@ufc) April 3, 2018