Nate Diaz will indeed step in and face Conor McGregor next month at UFC 196.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the bout during a special appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” late Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was forced out of the planned main event after suffering an injury. No timetable has been set for his return, or if McGregor, the reigning featherweight champion, will defend his title before getting a shot at RDA.
“We figured this would be the most exciting fight,” White said. “It’s the fight Conor really wanted. We figured this was the fight to make and the fight the fans wanted to see.”
White mentioned Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar as options, but both turned down the short notice bout set for March 5. He also stated that Donald Cerrone accepted the challenge and that BJ Penn asked to fight, as well.
“A lot of guys wanted this,” White said. “We ended up with Nate Diaz. We felt this was the fight to make.”
Despite the card featuring Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate for Holm’s bantamweight belt, McGregor and Diaz will remain the headline attraction.