Four key points from Conor McGregor's UFC 202 victory over Nate Diaz
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Four key points from Conor McGregor's UFC 202 victory over Nate Diaz

CONOR McGREGOR is back to winning ways, prevailing on the scorecards after outpointing Nate Diaz at UFC 202, a mesmerising contest that will go down as one of the all time greats.

The bout went the distance, a five-round, 25-minute grueling war of attrition that saw both fighters put everything on the line.

This wasn't for a title – this was, as McGregor called it earlier in the week "a fist fight". This was a matter of redemption and pride, both of which McGregor attained in the Las Vegas desert.

We look at four reasons why McGregor triumphed over his American opponent.

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Diaz is bloodied as McGregor lands a left hook [Picture: Inpho] Diaz is bloodied as McGregor lands a left hook [Picture: Inpho]

Strategy

The Irishman implemented his game-plan early, taking the wind out of Diaz's sails with heavy leg kicks and sharp boxing, dropping Diaz three times throughout the fight and bloodying the Stockton native.

McGregor's strategy became apparent, as he refused to over-commit and go to the ground after dropping the jiu-jitsu specialist.

Intelligently, McGregor backed away, suppressing the impulse that in other circumstances would have sent him into auto-pilot. Instead, he motioned for Diaz to get to his feet.

McGregor said he would be more calculated for this bout, and as a frustrated Diaz rose to his feet, there was a feeling that if McGregor could remain loyal to his strategy, he had every chance of winning.

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McGregor's fight with Diaz in Las Vegas went the distance [Picture: Inhpo] McGregor's fight with Diaz in Las Vegas went the distance [Picture: Inhpo]

Discipline

Mike Tyson once said that "everyone has a game plan till they get punched in the mouth". This memorable quote resonated in the later rounds, as Diaz grew in confidence and looked to break McGregor's will and lure him into a dog fight.

At times it looked like McGregor would take the bait and succumb to a leering Diaz. Much to the distaste of Diaz fans, McGregor opted to settle himself and regroup when he was fatigued.

Diaz was looking to pounce, but McGregor was nowhere to be found, as he stepped away and gathered his breath, one eye on Diaz and one on the clock.

It was these moments of clarity and recovery that ultimately enabled McGregor to succeed.

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McGregor has Diaz reeling [Picture: Inpho] McGregor has Diaz reeling [Picture: Inpho]

Focus

As Diaz began to impose his will in the later rounds, McGregor showed a different side to his game, and that was his unwavering resilience in the face of adversity.

MMA analysts have been quick to highlight that McGregor's previous loss to Diaz was the first time he found himself in deep waters, and in that instance he failed to stay afloat. Eyebrows were raised and critics attached themselves to the theory that it's only a matter of time until McGregor gets found out.

The naysayers were notably silent post-fight as McGregor showed that not only can he survive against one of the most durable, resolute fighters in the game, but the combination of a remarkable physical skill-set with a fight IQ that's second to none means he can thrive.

Heart

There is an old adage in golf: "there's no pictures on a scorecard". It seems quite applicable to McGregor's performance in Las Vegas.

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This was more than just a story of solid punches and successfully smothering all but one of Diaz's repeated takedown attempts. It was about illustrating that he can learn from past mistakes and adapt and overcome adversity when the waters get choppy.

A decision win may not make for an exciting statistic on paper, but for those that watched the fight, they saw a renewed McGregor face his demons head on and re-establish himself as force to be reckoned with for anyone in the featherweight, lightweight or welterweight divisions.