UFC 196 was originally titled “UFC 196: McGregor vs. dos Anjos.” Conor McGregor, the featherweight champion, was originally slated to face lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos in a super fight in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Ten days before the event, dos Anjos withdrew from the bout due to a broken foot suffered in training. What was supposed to be a lightweight title fight quickly turned into a welterweight match-up between the featherweight champion and fifth-ranked lightweight Nate Diaz.
McGregor hoped to become the first UFC fighter to hold two divisional belts at the same time. Instead, he seemingly bit off more than he could chew. Diaz hurt the Irishman with a left hand during the second round and finished with a rear-naked choke submission moments later.
Leading up to the fight, McGregor said, “The only weight I care about is the weight of my checks. My checks are always super heavyweight.
“It doesn’t matter what weight divisions, or even what belt is on the line because, really, I should create my own belt,” said McGregor during the press conference announcing Diaz as the replacement. “It doesn’t matter weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s featherweight, welterweight, lightweight, it’s the McGregor belt.”
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After finishing McGregor by rear-naked choke in the second round of the UFC 196 main event, Diaz declared himself the new 145-pound champion.
“I’m the 145-pound champion now. I guess I’ll be the champion in that division for a while,” he said during his backstage interview. “And then, I don’t know. Time will tell. Money talks. We’ll see what happens.”
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