Nate Diaz has agreed to step in on short notice against Conor McGregor at UFC 196 after lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos suffered a broken foot last week while training for the March 5 event.
In an announcement on ESPN’s SportsCenter, UFC president Dana White revealed the late change after multiple reports Tuesday afternoon stated dos Anjos was unable to compete. Just before the announcement, dos Anjos tweeted a photo of his broken foot with the message, “Sorry to all my real fans and @ufc,I never cancel any fight due to injury but accidents happen #Jesus #truechampion.”
It was to be dos Anjos’ second title defense. McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, was attempting to become the first fighter in the promotion’s history to hold belts in two weight divisions at the same time.
Now, Diaz (18-10, 13-8 UFC) will face McGregor in a 170-pound main event without title implication, but one that will likely feature some heavy trash talk. The Stockton, Calif.-based lightweight is coming off a decision win over Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 17 last December.
UFC 196 also features champion Holly Holm making her first bantamweight title defense against Miesha Tate in the co-main event.
— With Mark La Monica