The Notorious Conor McGregor learned last week that he will not be facing American ju-jitsu fighter Cole Miller at the O2 next month and will instead step into the octagon against Brazilian Diego Brandao on July 19.
Miller suffered torn ligaments in his thumb in training for the UFC encounter, and pulled out of the scheduled bout, leaving the door ajar for a new opponent to step up.
Brandao is that challenger now, and the Brazilian should provide a worthy test for GazetteSport’s Dublin Sports Star of the Year.
Speaking to SevereMMA.com, McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh reflected on McGregor’s change of opponent. “These things happen, MMA is a tough sport and the training is very hard, in fact the training is even tougher than the fight.
“I think Diego Brandao makes for a much more interesting contest. He’s got knockout power and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility for Diego to get a title shot someday, I don’t think Cole Miller ever will,” said Kavanagh.
“A victory for Conor against [Brandao] is bigger than a win over Miller in my opinion.”
The Lucan MMA star has been out of action for 10 months following an ACL injury, which severely disrupted the flying start he made in the MMA franchise.
Prior to his injury, the SBG gym fighter had made a flying start to life in the UFC, winning his debut in just 67 seconds back in April of last year.
This was followed up by winning again in his US debut against Max Holloway.
Big night at the O2
There is plenty more on show as well on the night and McGregor is joined on the match-card by fellow Dubliner Neil Seery, who will be getting his second crack in the UFC having lost to Brad Pickett back in March.
Seery will face Phil Harris in their rematch of a 2010 fight which Harris took on a judge’s decision.
As well as that bout featuring local talent, the co-main event on the night will see welterweight Gunner Nelson tackle Zak Cummings.
With the fight night being the first time the UFC visits these shores in five years, added to the draw of seeing hometown hero McGregor in action, tickets for the July 19 show sold out in only 10 minutes.