Following the news of Rafael dos Anjos’ broken foot leading up to UFC 196, it was announced shortly after that Conor McGregor will now be taking on Nate Diaz instead of the Brazilian. The date of the fight remains March 5th.
Several other fighters were contacted to take on the Irishman in lieu of dos Anjos’ withdrawal, including Frankie Edgar and McGregor’s previous opponent, Jose Aldo.
Both declined the fight even after having publicly stated they wanted to take on the McGregor.
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Dana White then reached out to California-born fighter, Nate Diaz. Diaz accepted the match up, but only if certain conditions were met. The American fighter demanded that the fight take place at the 165 lbs weight class.
White reminded Diaz that Conor had previously been fighting at 145lbs, and requested that he would accept to fight at the 155lbs weight as previously agreed upon.
In retaliation, McGregor agreed to fight Diaz at a whopping 170lbs, stating that weight is no issue for him and he will take on any fighter, at any time, at any weight.
This means the Irish fighter will have to gain an astonishing 25lbs from his previous weight.
With a little over a week to go until the fight, the lightweight champion has a lot of work cut out for himself to reach his goals in training. Fighting in the welterweight division requires very different tactics as compared to lightweight, as emphasis is switched from speed to strength.
However, this has not phased McGregor, who stated at his latest press conference:
“He [Diaz] will not be able to handle the ferocity, so, end of the first I feel he will be put away…business is business, he will be KO’d inside the first round.”
Bold claims from the Irish fighter, although McGregor has been notorious for the accuracy of his pre-fight predictions; most notably anticipating that he would KO Aldo in the first round.
Despite McGregor’s confidence, Diaz definitely has his experience to rely on, having fought 26 times professionally in the UFC as compared to McGregor’s limited number of fights. As of now, opinions are split on the outcome, with UFC fans at odds.
Who do you think will prevail at UFC 196 on March 5th? Let us know in the comments below…