Conor McGregor will remain on next weekend’s UFC 196 event, as the UFC announced Tuesday night that he’ll now meet Nate Diaz in the main event in Las Vegas.
The announcement was made on ESPN Tuesday night, and the fight will take place at 170 lbs.
McGregor needed a new opponent after UFC Lightweight Champ Rafael dos Anjos pulled out on Tuesday due to injury, and the UFC moved quick to replace the Brazilian. McGregor, the UFC Featherweight Champion, has had his plans of becoming a two-division Champion simultaneously delayed, but he’s made clear he’s willing to fight anyone put in front of him once he’s signed on for a date, and he’s continuing that here.
As for Diaz, the longtime UFC vet bounced back in December from a loss to dos Anjos the prior December, defeating Michael Johnson in a good performance at UFC on Fox 17. Now, he’ll try to take out the current top draw in the sport on less than two weeks notice.
UFC 196 hits pay-per-view on March 5 in Las Vegas, and also features the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship bout between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate in the co-main event.
UPDATE: It was also confirmed that the fight will indeed be a five round bout in the main event despite the short nature of the booking.
Penick’s Analysis: Given the options available and the time constraints facing all involved, this may have been the best case scenario overall. There’s no Interim title to muddy things up further, and though a McGregor loss would still be a massive setback in many respects, having that happen at 170 lbs. against an opponent he’s facing on 11 days notice would help to mitigate the damage somewhat. On the other side of that, should McGregor take Diaz out under these circumstances, it’s another significant victory for him. This is one of those fights between two guys who simply don’t care what is said about them, and their respective egos make for highly compelling replacement main event. Honestly, without the title fight being involved, if McGregor was going to remain on this card, this was probably the right call on every level to make that happen.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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