After a day of intense speculation following Rafael dos Anjos’ injury call-off, the UFC have now brought in a late notice opponent to fight Conor McGregor, and it’s none other than Nate Diaz.
Dana White confirmed the news on ESPN, revealing an added wrinkle to the proceedings in that the fight will no longer be contested at lightweight, but welterweight instead.
That’s two divisions up from where McGregor’s last fight (a featherweight title win over long-time champion Jose Aldo) was contested, though ‘The Notorious’ had indicated previously that he had intentions to fight at 170lbs in the future.
As for Diaz, he only has 11 days to prepare for this uunexpected encounter, but he does have previous experience of fighting at welterweight and this is a fight he infamously called for during an expletive-laden rant following his last victory over Michael Johnson at UFC On FOX 17 in December (most of which had to be bleeped out on the TV broadcast!)
“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 sh*t, I’m right here!”
This should be an easy fight for the UFC to promote and ensures that UFC 196 will still be a must-see show, though in some ways it’s a shame that there’s going to be such a short build-up as the pre-fight trash talk between these two could prove to be explosive.
Diaz wasn’t the UFC’s first choice to replace Dos Anjos though as they also approached Jose Aldo who turned the fight down due to not being in fight-shape, while Frankie Edgar also declined due to injuries.
Watch Dana White making the new McGregor Vs Diaz fight announcement below.