After a busy day of negotiations and deal-making, the UFC has somebody to replace the injured Rafael Dos Anjos against Conor McGregor on March 5. Nate Diaz will step up to the cage, and McGregor will step up even more in weight, fighting the Diaz brother at 170 pounds. That’s two weight classes above the 145 pounds McGregor last fought at, although the extra 15 pounds is mostly due to Diaz not having the time to cut to lightweight.
It’s still not an optimal situation for the Irish fighter. Diaz is going to be much bigger and heavier, and McGregor is no longer fighting a fight that allows him to become the first champ to hold two belts simultaneously in UFC history.
You’d think that would bother him, but if it did, he didn’t let it show. According to Ariel Helwani, the fight was locked in after McGregor told the UFC to forget about catchweights.
“Make it 170,” he said. “Tell him to get comfortable.”
“When we told Conor, he said, ‘Come on! This [expletive] guy! Oh my God! He’s pulling out?’ ” White said. “But when we went through the options, he said he’d fight any of them.
“I swear to God, he said, ‘I’ll fight anyone.’ He just doesn’t give a [expletive]. People talk about this strained relationship between us and Conor, and he has a different style than I’ve ever seen, but I have never seen anyone like Conor. The closest was Chuck Liddell, but we’ve never had one like Conor. You think he’s not hurt? But when he says he’s going to fight, he’s going to fight no matter what.”
Every time Conor McGregor takes another late replacement fight, his legend grows. And it’s been growing a lot: Four of his past eight opponents have bowed out due to injury leading up to fights with him. So, this is not a new experience. Even the fans seem to be prepared nowadays. Here’s a great fan-made trailer for the McGregor vs. Diaz fight coming fast in less than two weeks: