FoxSports Following an injury to lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos ahead of UFC 196, Nate Diaz has been tapped as a replacement to step in and face Conor McGregor as the new main event on March 5 in Las Vegas. UFC officials confirmed the new fight on Tuesday. Dos Anjos was forced out of the fight after suffering a broken foot last week in training, and as soon as news broke that he was no longer competing at UFC 196, a slew of potential opponents began jockeying to land the marquee spot against McGregor. Ultimately, Diaz ended up as the best choice, and now he’ll get the chance to face McGregor at UFC 196 next weekend. The fight will take place at welterweight with Diaz accepting the fight on short notice and McGregor happily accepting the move to 170 pounds. The outspoken Stockton, Calif. native just recently defeated Michael Johnson at FOX UFC Fight Night in December, but just before that fight he was calling out McGregor for a potential matchup down the road. “He talks all that money fight s–t, he knows where it’s at. It’s right here,” Diaz said back in December. “It’s not these guys fighting in the main event. The main event’s right here. These guys already got punked out at that press conference. He already beat them. That’s a win. “If he wants to fight a real fight, he knows where’s it at, he knows where the money fight’s at. It’s right here.” McGregor responded in kind after he won a “Fighter of the Year” award just recently as he took aim at Diaz as well as the money he’s currently making in the UFC. “I heard Nate Diaz couldn’t even afford the flight over to Las Vegas for the ceremony,” McGregor said in his acceptance speech. “Stop holding bitterness deep in your bum soul. Stuck on $20,000 to show and $20,000 to fight. I wipe my ass with that money. I tip your wage, Nate, yeah.”
When Rafael dos Anjos was forced to pull out of his fight at UFC 196 with a foot injury, in which he was scheduled to defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against Conor McGregor, I was extremely disappointed. However the UFC did an excellent job of quickly finding McGregor a new opponent, and it’s official, he will make his Lightweight debut against Nate Diaz at UFC 196. While the fight will not be for a title, and while McGregor will have to wait to face dos Anjos for the chance to become a two-division champion, a matchup with Nate Diaz will still make for a great fight. I would have rather seen McGregor fight Donald Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, or even a rematch with Jose Aldo, but the UFC will still get my pay-per-view money for a card headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz. And that’s before the pre-fight hype, the Diaz brothers and McGregor know how to sell a fight, expect for plenty of trash talk during the next eleven days leading up to UFC 196.