Just 45 days remain before Conor McGregor once again stares across the Octagon from the man who first made him appear mortal. McGregor's rematch with Nate Diaz, slated for UFC 202 on August 20th, is one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history and as he once again faces his biggest challenge, McGregor appears to have embraced a new mindset in his training.
With the rangy frame of Diaz representing a problem for the Dubliner in their first bout, McGregor has abandoned the 'there is no opponent' mantra which initially guided him to the UFC featherweight title and this time around has adopted a more personalised regime designed to counter the specific threats that Diaz poses in the cage.
Speaking at an event to promote his coach John Kavanagh's book Win Or Learn last week, McGregor gave a glimpse into his preparations for next month's fight.
For the last fight I was preparing for Dos Anjos for the Lightweight belt, a small stocky southpaw. I didn’t actually bring in any southpaws, not one. The reason why we don’t really care what the opponent is doing is because they always pull out, every damn time. This time I know Nate’s going to show up.
I’m going to be facing a tall, lanky southpaw with a decent lead hand. I have brought in tall, lanky southpaws with a solid lead hand. Guys with solid jiu-jitsu credentials and John is managing every session.
McGregor is currently in Las Vegas and will participate in a UFC 202 press conference opposite Diaz this week, but he has been getting in some time in the gym with former IBO and IBF boxing champion Chris van Heerden of which a sparring video was released overnight - though it seems van Heerden isn't particularly happy with how the video made him look.
You can make up your own minds as to whether van Heerden has cause for complaint but he is clearly upset that the video shows McGregor getting the best of him in a few exchanges and claims that the edit of the video doesn't tell the full story of their sparring session.
Among McGregor's numerous sparring partners while training in Dublin was Conor Wallace, the lanky amateur Irish champion southpaw from Newry, was brought in to mirror Diaz's style. Dillon Danis, one of the world's best grapplers, also spent time on the SBG mats with McGregor but all of this will count for naught unless McGregor is able to seek the revenge that UFC boss Dana White claims he is "obsessed" with.