UFC president Dana White has announced that Nate Diaz will take on Conor McGregor at UFC 196 after Rafael dos Anjos was forced to drop out from the event with an injury.
White announced the news on ESPN's SportsCenter, saying that McGregor will move up two weight classes to participate in a non-title welterweight fight against Diaz. The fight will be the headline event for UFC 196, and McGregor will now move up from 145 pounds to 170 for the fight, according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that dos Anjos pulled out of the main event match with a broken foot. He is expected to be out for six to eight weeks. Yahoo Sports reported that White did not want to cancel the fight, and that he was "working on a replacement" to face McGregor on March 5. Diaz now will be that replacement.
"He threw a kick and the guy he was sparring with checked the kick," said Ali Abdelaziz, dos Anjos' manager, to Yahoo Sports. "It hurt a little, but he continued to spar. After that, it began swelling badly and I called the UFC. They sent him to a doctor who said it's broken."
McGregor currently holds the featherweight title and comes in with a 19-2 record. He was attempting to become the first fighter to have a title in two weight classes at the same time. Okamoto reported after the original news broke that Diaz and Donald Cerrone could be potential replacements for dos Anjos.
This was not the first time that McGregor has dealt with an opponent dropping out of a match on short notice. Last summer, McGregor was set to face off against Jose Aldo, but Aldo suffered a rib injury and had to drop out. The two eventually fought in December, with McGregor winning the title in less than 30 seconds.
White said to Yahoo Sports that the fight between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate for the bantamweight title "will remain the co-main event."
UFC 196 is scheduled for March 5 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.