MONTREAL - Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre wanted his next fight to be against dangerous Nick Diaz, and he's glad UFC boss Dana White made it happen.
The two will face off at UFC 158 on March 16 at the Bell Centre.
"This is the big fight that people wanted to see, more than any other guy," St-Pierre (23-2) said at a news conference Wednesday.
"For me, Nick is the No. 1 contender. There's a history between us. We both wanted this fight for a long time. Let's do it."
St-Pierre, on a 10-match winning run, will fight in his hometown for a second time after returning in November from an 18-month injury layoff to post a unanimous decision win over Carlos Condit.
Former Strikeforce champion Diaz (27-8) is coming off a loss to Condit in April.
"I didn't think I'd get this fight," the Stockton, Calif., based Diaz said. "I thought I'd have to fight my way back to the big fights.
"He's the best. He's got the spot. He's the guy to beat."
Attendance at the usually sold-out Bell Centre dropped to 17,000 for St-Pierre's last fight, but White said he is not concerned because it still brought in $3.1 million at the gate.
"The day I start bumming out over $3.1 million it will be a very weird day," he said.
The co-feature has Rory (Ares) MacDonald (14-1) of Montreal against Condit (28-6) while other 170-pound bouts have Johny Hendricks (14-1) against Jake Ellenberger (28-6) and Patrick (The Predator) Cote (19-8) of Montreal facing ex-Strikeforce fighter (Vicious) Bobby Voelker (24-8) in his UFC debut.
Middleweight Nick (The Promise) Ring (13-1) of Calgary faces Chris Camozzi (18-5).
Jordan Mein of Lethbridge, Alta., and Sean (The Punisher) Pierson of Toronto are also on the card along with Montreal fighters John Makdessi and Yves Jabouin.
Ticket sales to the general public go on sale Saturday.