7 of Conor’s UFC fights that have been due to go ahead have been postponed due to an opponent pulling out, and a replacement coming into the event at the last minute.
Rafael Dos Anjos is the latest in a string of opponents to pull, this time with a ‘broken foot’. Jose Aldo was the last to pull out before a rematch was scheduled in which Conor took the UFC Featherweight Belt from Aldo in just 13 seconds.
This time for UFC 196 Nate Diaz has stepped in, which will mean that Conor will make the jump up to Welterweight from Featherweight.
Conor is the favourite for this one by a long shot despite never fighting in the UFC at Welterweight level. He has grown in popularity throughout the world and within the UFC fan base, through his trash talking and his ability to back it up in the Octagon.
He is not so popular within the UFC Roster however. A number of opponents have called out McGregor in recent times such as ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and even Jose Aldo wants a rematch. But when the slot became available after Dos Anjos pulled out, only Nate Diaz stepped up to fight. Frankie Edgar apparently has a groin injury, Aldo is apparently not fit despite his coach claiming that he would be ready to fight if Dos Anjos did indeed pull out.
But did McGregor see this coming? He recently called out Diaz at the Fighter of the Year Awards 2 weeks ago and according to Diaz, McGregor’s team have been contacting him about a fight for months. Mystic Mac strikes again?
The promo press conference was staged yesterday at the UFC gym, and I don’t think I have ever seen Conor look so relaxed before a fight that is in only 10 days’ time. On the other hand, Diaz did not look extremely comfortable, it appeared that he was almost accepting the pay cheque and ready to lose to Conor at UFC 196. He looked a defeated man, certainly not ready for a big fight with the Irishman.
McGregor actually looks like he will be more comfortable at this weight against Diaz and this may well set up a showdown at UFC 200 for the Welterweight Belt against Robbie Lawler, before then setting up a fight once again with Dos Anjos for the Lightweight Belt, in this case Conor will still be able to achieve the Triple Crown he longs for.
Is he capable of this? Of course he is, everybody seems to be running scared of him at the minute. Conor has not been beaten in the UFC, and with that in mind it becomes an even greater achievement for a fighter to be the first to beat the star of the UFC, and with that comes more pressure and nerves. The longer he goes unbeaten, the more this will increase on every fighter.
My prediction for Conor McGregor: Win against Nate Diaz, go on to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 200 and win, before then facing Rafael Dos Anjos and winning the Lightweight Belt as well.
Sources: UFC, The Independent, The Mirror.