Stephen Thompson expects nothing short of a slambang affair in McGregor-Diaz face-off
UFC rising star Stephen Thompson watches a PBA game from ringside. Jerome Ascano

THE Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rued the lack of time to build up the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz fight, but still promises the new main event of UFC 196 to be a thrilling battle.

Diaz has been tapped at the last minute to replace Rafael Dos Anjos, who on Tuesday night withdrew from the fight owing to a foot injury.

That forces McGregor, the reigning featherweight champion, to climb two weight classes to fight the welterweight Diaz.

“It’s too bad that it’s only going to be ten days of back and forth versus two months,” UFC Asia executive vice president Ken Berger said in a short chat with Spin.ph on Wednesday. “But it’s going to be an exciting one.”

“I’m sure it’s been a fight that both guys have been talking about for a while,” he added.

UFC risings star Stephen Thompson also expects a slam-bang affair between McGregor and Diaz.

“It’s going to be a very interesting fight,” he said. "Both are very exciting fighters.”

“I think they’re going to draw a huge crowd,” he added. “Even though Dos Anjos is not going to be able to fight, I think it’s still going to be a huge matchup."

The UFC is expected to hold another event the Philippines later this year after making a successful debut in the country last May.

“We look forward to doing it this year,” Berger said. “With the UFC 200 the focus later this July, the schedule after that isn’t fixed yet. But we’re talking to the promoter, looking for a date, and finalizing some details.”

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