It wasn’t the UFC 196 fight Conor McGregor (pictured) was hoping for, but it will have to do after lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos withdrew after breaking his foot in training.
On Tuesday night’s edition of ESPN’S “SportsCenter,” UFC president Dana White announced Nate Diaz has agreed to serve as substitute on 11 days’ notice to welcome McGregor in a welterweight affair. The bout will be a five-round tango.
When news broke earlier today that dos Anjos was out, several lightweights threw their names in the hat to battle the UFC’s golden boy, including Diaz.
“He’s going to have to get on his knees and beg…” Diaz tweeted, stealing a line from McGregor.
Actually, Diaz called out McGregor after posting a unanimous decision victory over Michael Johnson in December.
“F**k that,” Diaz said. “Conor McGregor, you’re taking everything I worked for, mother f**ker. I’m gonna fight your f**king ass. You know what’s the real fight, what’s the real money fight – me. Not these clowns that you already punked at the press conference. Ain’t nobody wants to see that. You know you can beat them already. It’s an easy fight. You want the real s**t. Right here.”
McGregor promptly responded with, “Line them up on their knees with their hands out. I want them to beg me.”
Diaz has only won two of his past five fights, but usually backs up his talk with solid performances.
McGregor captured the featherweight crown in December by plastering Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds. He immediately hopped to the lightweight class in hopes of becoming the first UFC fighter to hold two different titles at the same time.
Regardless of the outcome if his bout with dos Anjos, now Diaz, a healthy McGregor was planning on returning in July for UFC 200.
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada serves as host. Women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm defends her throne against Miesha Tate in the co-main event.
Here is the show’s revised roster:
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch
Julian Erosa vs. Teruto Ishihara
Ilir Latifi vs. Gian Villante
Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Vitor Miranda
Jason Saggo vs. Justin Salas
Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Jim Miller vs. Diego Sanchez
Darren Elkins vs. Chas Skelly
Erick Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor
Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm (UFC bantamweight champion)
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz