One of the most anticipated fights of the year was set to take place in less than two weeks as UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was set to move up to lightweight to face 155-pound champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
Unfortunately for the UFC the injury bug has struck again and now the company is scrambling to salvage a main event for their March 5 card.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Dos Anjos has been forced to pull out of the fight due to a broken foot suffered last week:
UFC lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos (25-7) has withdrawn from a scheduled defense against McGregor in the main event of UFC 196 on March 5 with a broken foot.
Though now in a tough position, the UFC already as found a replacement as UFC President Dana White announced on SportsCenter that the outspoken Nate Diaz would take Dos Anjos’ place via Okamoto:
With a lightweight championship fight off the table, Conor McGregor has opted to move up two weight classes and will now meet Nate Diaz in a non-title welterweight fight at UFC 196 on March 5.
Moving up two weight classes for this fight makes things even more interesting as McGregor will be the much smaller man. McGregor had previously spoken about challenging welterweight champion Robbie Lawler if he defeated Dos Anjos.
McGregor was looking to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two different weight classes at the same time. Instead he will take on Diaz, who was chosen from a group of fighters hoping to come in on short notice including recent lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
If there is one downside to this fight being on short notice it is that the fans will be deprived of what could have been the most volatile, trash-talking press conferences the UFC has ever seen. Instead the two brash fighters will have to do all of their talking in the cage.