On Tuesday morning, news emerged that UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos broke his foot and wouldn't be able to defend his title against featherweight champ Conor McGregor at UFC 196. On Tuesday evening, on the 11 PM ET broadcast of ESPN's SportsCenter, McGregor's new opponent was confirmed by UFC president Dana White.
Your new UFC 196 main event on March 5th in Las Vegas, Nevada is Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz. This official announcement follows a previous report from BJPenn.com, followed by FOX Sports' Damon Martin. Unlike McGregor's fight with Chad Mendes at UFC 189, there will be no interim belt on the line, as the two men will compete in a five-round welterweight bout.
Diaz (18-10) is coming off a massive unanimous decision win over Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17, giving him the biggest win of his career since stopping Jim Miller in 2012 to earn himself a lightweight title shot vs. Benson Henderson (which he would lose by unanimous decision). After defeating Johnson, the 30-year-old immediately campaigned for the McGregor fight in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, which FOX censored for reasons you'll soon find out.
"Conor McGregor, you've taken everything I've worked for, motherf*cker!" Diaz said. "I'ma fight your f*cking ass! You know what's the real fight, the real money fight... Me! Not these clowns you've already punked at the press conference!"
"No one wants to see that, you know you've already beat them mother*ckers! That's the easy fight. You want the real shit, I'm right here!"
Well it took unfortunate circumstances for it to happen, but Diaz will be fighting McGregor in less than two weeks. It'll be Diaz's first fight at 170 lbs since losing to Rory MacDonald at UFC 129 in 2011, and for McGregor, who has publicly stated he wants Robbie Lawler's title, he'll be making his debut in the weight class.