Conor McGregor's UFC 196 opponent was supposed to be Rafael dos Anjos, and then a few days ago dos Anjos broke his foot. So the UFC went into scramble mode and was able to salvage March 5 (a.k.a. next Saturday's) fight by announcing tonight that McGregor's new opponent will instead be Nate Diaz, the guy shown above flipping the double-bird.
Diaz's record is a not so great 18-10, with three losses in his last five fights. Previously, Diaz and McGregor exchanged words, with the former issuing the Irishman a direct challenge when he said:
"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 during his acceptance speech for his "Fighter of the Year" award earlier this month by saying:
"I heard Nate Diaz couldn't even afford the flight over to Las Vegas for the ceremony. 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."
Dana White said on SportsCenter this evening that both Jose Aldo (McGregor's previous opponent) and Frankie Edgar rejected a fight against the current Featherweight champ. He also stated that "We felt that this was the fight to make and the fight that the fans wanted to see." Those would seem to be contradictory statements, but whatever. The upcoming brawl will be a non-championship bout, instead of being for dos Anjos' Lightweight title (which was the original idea).
Also of note is the fact that McGregor will move up two weight classes (instead of just one) to face-off against Diaz, who likely won't be able to make weight in the given 11-day time period. What that means is you'll get to see what wins/loses out, McGregor fighting at a weight 15 lbs. higher than normal (from 155 to 170), or Diaz fighting against a champ on a week-and-a-half's notice.
No matter what, hopefully it lasts more than 13 seconds.
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