Earlier this morning it was announced that Rafael Dos Anjos would be pulling out of his March 5th title fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 196. To say that I am disappointed is a massive understatement. It is being reported that Dos Anjos broke his foot, and with less than two weeks to go before the event, it seems like déjà vu all over again for the Notorious.
Last July McGregor was scheduled to fight Jose Aldo at UFC 189, until two weeks out, when Aldo was forced to pull out of the contest with a rib injury. In Aldo’s place, number one featherweight contender, Chad Mendes, stepped up and took the fight, but there were many wishing it was Aldo and not Mendes. The originally scheduled fight eventually took place later in the year in December. A fight in which McGregor won in just 13 seconds. However, in order for us to see a definitive end to a Dos Anjos/McGregor contest we will have to wait a bit longer.
While it is a near certainty that we will eventually see a Dos Anjos v. McGregor matchup sometime in the near future, (perhaps UFC 200) there is just no way that the same hype can be dawned around a replacement fight, such as the Mendes one. This bout was going to be historic. McGregor was going to attempt to be the first ever to hold two UFC titles consecutively, but now that feat may be at risk with a replacement fight looming.
McGregor is game to fight anyone, but with less than two weeks out, there is only a short list of guys to choose from. Frankie Edgar, who is the number two featherweight contender, had his name thrown around, but, as Arieal Helwani reported, Edgar is not ready to take that fight on short notice. So, this does not leave us with many names to pick from.
The leading front runners, as of right now, are Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz. Both would be entertaining matchups for a plethora of reasons. With a Pettis fight fans would be treated to a striking clinic, as both men have the capability to throw some of the best kicks in MMA.
A bout with Nate Diaz would also be entertaining considering the two fighters are perhaps the biggest trash talkers in sports today. Even with only two weeks till the fight, I am sure we would get some great sound bites, and if anyone can bring it on short notice it would be Nate Diaz. Diaz is one of those guys who will stand and trade with anyone, and laugh in their face as they hit him. He is a different breed of fighter, similar to McGregor, who has no fear, regardless of his opponent.
Cowboy Cerrone is another name that has gathered some buzz, however, I would like to see a match up with Eddie Alvarez for an interim title. Alvarez, who just defeated Pettis via split decision in their Boston fight back in January, is the number one light weight contender, and is next in line for a title shot, behind McGregor. Alvarez does not bring the flash or entertainment factor that Diaz or Pettis does, but I am a firm believer that if you earn a title shot, then you deserve a title shot. So with Dos Anjos sidelined, Alvarez should be the next man up.
So while we are going to have to wait to witness history, we can still enjoy a good fight. The only question at this point is who it will be? As more details of the potential opponent become available, I will come out with an update. Until then keep your ear to the ground, because I am sure the rumor mill will be in full swing for the next bunch of hours.
By Jake Cianci