Nate Diaz will replace the injured Rafael dos Anjos as Conor McGregor’s opponent at UFC 196 next week.
McGregor was scheduled to face off against Dos Anjos on March 5 for the lightweight title, but the Brazilian has been forced to withdraw from the bout after breaking his foot in training last Friday.
It was initially thought that the bout would remain a lightweight fight, but it has been agreed that it will take place at welterweight as a result of Diaz accepting the fight on short notice and with McGregor happy to move up to 77kgs, despite it being 12kgs above his regular fighting weight.
The pair have already developed something of a rivalry, with Diaz having launched a foul-mouthed rant at McGregor following his victory over Michael Johnson in December, asserting: “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 by using his pre-recorded acceptance speech for his “Fighter of the Year” award at the World MMA Awards as a chance to trash Diaz.
“I heard Nate Diaz couldn’t even afford the flight over to Las Vegas for the ceremony,” McGregor said.
“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.”
The two fighters will now have the chance to settle their differences in the Octagon in what will not be a title fight.
The women’s bantamweight title fight between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate is the co-headliner on the card.