Conor McGregor has a hastily arranged new opponent for next week’s UFC 196

CONOR McGregor will once again be forced to fight a hastily put together replacement in UFC 196 on Saturday, March 5 after last Tuesday brought the news that his opponent, Rafael dos Anjos, had broken his foot in training and would no longer be able to compete in the event.
McGregor was bidding to strip Dos Anjos of his lightweight title to become a double-champion, holding both UFC featherweight and lightweight titles simultaneously if he had won.
While the title belt is off the table, he will fight on the card with Nate Diaz confirmed on Wednesday morning as the replacement opponent in a non-title bout.
In a surprise twist, the pair will duel at the 170lbs welterweight division – apparently at McGregor’s request – meaning that the Dubliner will jump up two divisions in one go.
His last bout in December was in the 145lb featherweight division when he demolished Jose Aldo in 13 seconds but he appears happy enough to skip the lightweight class for the Diaz date and take on a division that Diaz will be more attuned to, McGregor reportedly saying: “Make it 170. Tell him to get comfortable.”
Diaz also fought last December, a week after McGregor had beaten Aldo, with a unanimous win over Michael Johnson. In the wake of the bout, Diaz called out the Dubliner to take him on.
It is another bold move from McGregor but it looks like the decision could give him many further options and potential opponents in the future.
As for Dos Anjos, he became the fourth fighter to withdraw from McGregor’s eight UFC fights since 2013. Most recently was that of Brazilian fighter Aldo who withdrew from UFC 189 due to a rib injury.
McGregor beat Aldo’s replacement Chad Mendes in July last year before the much-anticipated unification fight between McGregor and Aldo in December.
That bout saw the Irish fighter continue his unbeaten streak in the UFC with his seventh straight victory– a total career record of 19-2.
Adjusting to new opponents is nothing new for McGregor and his team. To that end, McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh spoke last Saturday morning on RTE about how preparations were always primarily on what his man can do rather than the opponent.
The rationale was simple given that so many opponents had been forced out in the past, saying that if he were to prepare a game plan solely designed for the originally scheduled opponent, he could be susceptible to a change in style in these circumstances.