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Dana White: B.J. Penn wanted to fight McGregor at UFC 196

The UFC president says that Hall of Famer, B.J. Penn, was on the phone asking for a fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 196.

Bedlam erupted when Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of his lightweight championship tilt with Conor McGregor at UFC 196. The Brazilian was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering a foot injury during training. It was hyped as a champion vs champion superfight and many fans were left anxiously awaiting news of a replacement.

Enter Nate Diaz. The Stockton brawler was selected to fight McGregor on short notice in a non-title fight welterweight clash. But, according to Dana White, several other fighters were also considered for the bout.

Amongst Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo, who were the top candidates for the job, Dana White says former two-division champion B.J. Penn wanted to lock horns with the Irishman.

"The first two guys that we were going after was Jose and Frankie Edgar - to take the fight at 155 lbs.," White said to Ariel Helwani on Friday. "But then I started getting calls from B.J. Penn, Pettis...Urijah Faber was in the running too."

Penn, who conquered both the lightweight and welterweight titles, announced that he would be coming out of retirement to make a run at the featherweight title in January. The 37-year-old last fought and lost to Frankie Edgar at The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale in 2014 and is currently under investigation for alleged sexual assault. The allegations were made public by former editor Pedro Carrasco, who was fired for unethical conduct in October. The Hawaiian says the claims are untrue and that Carrasco is trying to extort him.

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz will headline the UFC 196 pay-per-view at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5th.