The UFC has officially announced a rematch between Featherweight champion Conor McGregor (19-3-0) and Lightweight contender Nate Diaz (19-10-0) as the headliner of UFC 200 on July 9. The announcement comes less than a month after Diaz upset McGregor in the main event of UFC 196 on March 5. Due to McGregor’s inactivity in the FW division, former champion Jose Aldo (25-2-0) will square off against number two ranked contender Frankie Edgar (24-4-1) for the interim FW title.
After much speculation of McGregor’s next opponent, Wednesday night’s “UFC Tonight” broadcast confirmed the Diaz rematch. McGregor was handed his first loss in the UFC after being submitted by Diaz via rear-naked choke in a Welterweight bout. Diaz took the fight on 11 days’ notice after Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (25-7-0) withdrew from the bout due to injury. MMA pundits and fans speculated whether McGregor would return to the FW division to defend his title against a top-ranked contender, such as Aldo or Edgar. However, the UFC has decided to ride the media popularity wave of McGregor and the growing stardom of Diaz.
With a full three months in advance of UFC 200, the UFC will look to capitalize on an expected international media tour, highlighted by the main event’s polarizing trash talkers. UFC President Dana White claims the McGregor-Diaz headlined UFC 196 sold 1.5 million PPV buys, second only to the 1.6 million of UFC 100. The upcoming summer blockbuster is expected to shatter previous UFC PPV numbers.