Conor McGregor will remain on the UFC 196 card in Las Vegas on March 5, fighting replacement opponent Nate Diaz, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White announced Tuesday.
McGregor (19-2) was seeking to become the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously in the UFC by meeting lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, but it was revealed Tuesday that Dos Anjos suffered a broken foot while training in Huntington Beach and is out for an undetermined period.
The March 5 pay-per-view card already has a title fight on it, with women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm making her first title defense following her November upset of Ronda Rousey in Australia. Holm will fight former title challenger Miesha Tate.
Keeping McGregor on the card was a priority, considering he generated $10.1 million in ticket sales by knocking out Brazil’s Jose Aldo in 13 seconds in December at MGM Grand.
By winning the featherweight belt that night, the charismatic Irishman also dealt Aldo his first loss in more than 10 years.
Inserting Stockton’s brash Diaz (18-10) should make for an entertaining verbal back-and-forth.
Diaz, 30, returned from a yearlong absence after missing weight in a December 2014 loss to Dos Anjos to defeat Michael Johnson by unanimous decision in December.
Diaz fought for the lightweight belt in 2012, but was defeated by champion Benson Henderson by unanimous decision.
White announced the weight limit will be at welterweight, 170 pounds, two weight classes above the 145-pound featherweight limit.
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