Respectful McGregor calls Diaz 'a hell of a competitor'

McGregor and Diaz went toe to toe for five rounds
McGregor and Diaz went toe to toe for five rounds

Conor McGregor showed that Nate Diaz had well and truly earned his respect after beating the American on a decision at UFC 202.

The build-up to the bout saw the fighters trade insults and throw bottles at each other but it was a different story after five brutal rounds in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The fighters embraced each other at the end of the bloody battle and it was clear that they had finally earned each other's respect.

McGregor confirmed as much after the fight when he praised Diaz as "a hell of a competitor".

The Irishman threw everything he had at his opponent but couldn't get the knock-out he craved.

McGregor put that down to the resilience of Diaz: "He took them (punches) better than I expected. He didn't let me know.

"I proved the class difference. That toughness and durability that he has crept back in during the later rounds but I feel happy to come away with the win."

Diaz was equally complimentary towards his victorious opponent after the fight, saying "Hey, good job today, Conor."

Both fighters looked ahead to a probable decider between the pair but McGregor wants the fight to be on his terms next time.

All I know is that it's 1-1," McGregor said. "Let's regroup and do it again!

"This time I want to do it at 155 pounds, I came in at 170 with him as the bigger man and I overcame that adversity.

"Now this trilogy is on my terms, come back down to 155 and we'll do it.