http://mmajunkie.com/2016/02/report-rafael-dos-anjos-forced-out-of-conor-mcgregor-superfight-at-ufc-196-with-broken-footWere you stoked beyond belief for next week’s UFC 196 main event superfight between lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and featherweight champ Conor McGregor? You might want to douse those flames.
USA TODAY Sports confirmed with a source close to the fight that dos Anjos (25-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) has suffered a broken foot in the final days leading up to the fight with McGregor (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC). UFC officials have not made an announcement, but the injury will force dos Anjos off the card. Brazilian news outlet Globo first reported dos Anjos’ withdrawal.
It also is not yet known if McGregor will remain on the card against a short-notice opponent, and if so, if that fight would be for an interim title – which would be a bit of history repeating for the Irish superstar. The difference this time, though, is that McGregor was attempting to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.
UFC 196 takes place March 5 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass. The co-main event is scheduled to be a women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Holly Holm and former title challenger Miesha Tate, with the winner expected to face former champ Ronda Rousey later this year.
The bout between dos Anjos and McGregor is a rare super fight that was set to live up to the name: McGregor is No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, and dos Anjos is No. 1 at lightweight. McGregor is also No. 4 pound-for-pound, while dos Anjos sits at No. 6.
The development will seem like a recurring dream for McGregor. This past July, in the days leading up to a featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 189, Aldo pulled out of the fight with an injury. The UFC was able to tab two-time title challenger Chad Mendes to face McGregor for an interim belt, and McGregor won with a second-round TKO.
In December, in the UFC 194 main event in Las Vegas, McGregor finally got to face Aldo to unify the titles – and won with a stunning 13-second one-punch knockout.
But rather than defending his new 145-pound belt right away, McGregor wanted to move up to lightweight to challenge for the title there. The UFC booked the fight with dos Anjos, who won the title with a domination of Anthony Pettis at UFC 185, and in December shut down Donald Cerrone with a TKO in a little more than a minute at UFC on FOX 17.
McGregor has implied that his plan is to win the lightweight title, then move up yet another weight class to welterweight to challenge champ Robbie Lawler for his belt at UFC 200 in July in Las Vegas. First up, though, was the planned fight with dos Anjos, which the UFC understandably had put a massive amount of promotional muscle behind.
Stay tuned to MMAjunkie for more on this storty as it develops.