Rafael dos Anjos will be replaced at UFC 196 by Nate Diaz who will fight Conor McGregor in a non-title welterweight bout.
The news was officially confirmed by UFC president Dana White last night on SportsCenter, and via Twitter.
Although Diaz was not the first man he called.
— Dana White (@danawhite) February 24, 2016Advertisement
According to ESPN White said:
We called Jose Aldo; Jose Aldo turned the fight down. We called Frankie Edgar; Frankie Edgar turned the fight down. Those are two guys everybody was talking about.
A lot of guys wanted this fight, but we ended up with Nate Diaz. We felt this was the fight to make and the fight the fans wanted to see.
Diaz publicly called out McGregor following victory in his last outing against Michael Johnson in December…
That tirade drew this response from ‘The Notorious’ on Twitter:
Line them up on their knees with their hands out. I want them to beg me. pic.twitter.com/YCYf0QslNR
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 20, 2015
Then yesterday Diaz tweeted this thinly veiled clue that he would be the man to fill RDA’s gloves.
He’s going to have to get on his knees and beg…
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) February 23, 2016
McGregor, who is the featherweight champion at 145lbs, was stepping up to fight RDA for the lightweight title at 155lbs.
With such a short period of time before March 5 Diaz was reportedly reluctant to cut weight so significantly to 155, probably a good call given the dangers exemplified by Dada 5000, so both fighters will be allowed to fight at 170 lbs.
McGregor has already placed on record his desire to claim the welterweight title, so the jump in division will unlikely phase him.
The last time McGregor weighed in at 155 it actually set him on the path to the UFC…
Reply to @joerogan Thank you very much Joe, that means alot, you are a fucking legend my friend!!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 2, 2013Advertisement
Fans certainly seem pleased with the outcome…
— Keith Berry (@kokid951) February 24, 2016
— mjf (@Est_19xx_97) February 24, 2016
— P.E. No. 1 (@Kizzaah209) February 24, 2016
— Scottish MMA (@ScotsMMA) February 24, 2016
— Cody James (@CodyJames831) February 24, 2016
Although a few have questioned the match-up:
— Doug Harter (@FNIGUY) February 24, 2016
— Shamus McGangsta (@ShamusMcGangsta) February 24, 2016
— Scott Klassen (@the_klassix) February 24, 2016
Well Aldo turned it down, Edgar turned it down, and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone only fought last weekend – albeit a convincing first round stoppage of Alex Oliveira.
Diaz Vs McGregor is one hell of an alternative.