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Conor McGregor Moving Up Two Weight Classes (and 25 Pounds) to Fight Nate Diaz at UFC 196
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was supposed to move up one weight class and fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title on March 5. However, on Tuesday dos Anjos officially withdrew from the fight because of a broken foot. So instead McGregor will move up two weight classes for a non-title welterweight fight against Nate Diaz.
UFC president Dana White broke the news on SportsCenter on Tuesday. The fight will be contested at 170 pounds and headline the UFC 196 pay-per-view event.
This is a huge jump in a short amount of time for the 27-year-old McGregor. He beat Jose Aldo in historic fashion on December 19, claiming the featherweight title at 145 pounds. He didn’t really have to add much weight to take on dos Anjos because the lightweight division runs from 145 to 155 pounds. However, the welterweight division runs from 155 to 170 pounds. Now McGregor will have to get to 155, and if he doesn’t go higher than that he could be at a disadvantage against Diaz, who now has four welterweight fights under his belt.
Needless to say, McGregor-Diaz was not the UFC’s first choice after dos Anjos pulled out. According to White, they first called former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, but he couldn’t do it because of a groin injury. So they called Jose Aldo, but his coach says he couldn’t be ready on such short notice. And that led them to Diaz, who is 18-10 and coming off a decision win over Michael Johnson on December 19.
Fortunately for the UFC, they’ve also got Holly Holm vs. Meisha Tate scheduled for UFC 196. So the pay-per-view sales won’t take that big a hit.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]