LAS VEGAS -- New opponent on short notice, with just a little more than a week to promote? No problem for the UFC and Conor McGregor.
"I'm sure you see it, I'm sure you feel it, I'm sure it's trending in your businesses right now," White told reporters. "This fight is off the f*cking charts. Off the charts. This fight is gonna be massive -- it might be one of the biggest fights we've ever done."
Just 11 days ago, McGregor didn't even have an opponent after Rafael dos Anjos dropped out due to a broken foot. McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, was trying to make history Saturday night. He wanted to win the lightweight title from dos Anjos to become the first fighter to ever hold two UFC belts in different divisions at the same time.
Without dos Anjos, there was no history. So the UFC and McGregor went to the back-up plan: Nate Diaz. And that has ended up being a very smart decision. Diaz has a substantial fanbase and also talks the talk. The hijinx at media events this week has been entertaining and that absolutely drives numbers.
"Diaz has been a stud, showing up to everything on time, done everything that was asked of him, was a big part of Embedded, went on the interviews today -- even the ones he didn't like," White said. "He's been awesome. I don't want to sound condescending and like a goof and say I'm proud of Nate, but Nate has been awesome."
So with all the buzz since Diaz stepped into the main-event picture, does that mean McGregor vs. Diaz is actually a bigger headliner than dos Anjos vs. McGregor? White doesn't know about that.
"Two totally different fights," White said. "You have to understand, there's a segment of people that want to come in and see a Diaz-McGregor throwdown and then there's a segment of people that want to see, can Conor McGregor win this title against a guy who destroyed [Benson] Henderson, destroyed [Anthony] Pettis, destroyed [Donald] Cerrone? I think both fights are as big. But they're big in different ways."