UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was slated to face featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor at UFC 196 in a champion vs. champion superfight. In the eleventh hour, the fight dematerialized when dos Anjos suffered a foot injury, while sparring ten days before the scheduled event.
A number of fighters offered to fill-in for the injured lightweight champion. Others turned down the fight. Fifth-ranked lightweight Nate Diaz accepted the short-notice bout that was agreed to take place at the 170-pound limit.
Diaz handed “The Notorious” his first UFC loss, and the two are scheduled to rematch in the UFC 200 main event in July. The fight will again be a welterweight match-up.
In the UFC 200 co-main event, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo will take on former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar for the interim 145-pound title. Dos Anjos thinks that the featherweight champion fighting outside of his weight class for the second time, while two contenders compete for an interim title in his division, on the same fight card, doesn’t make any sense.
“I think on the same card, an interim belt between Aldo and Edgar doesn’t make any sense, not only for me, but for nobody,” dos Anjos told Inside MMA.
Dos Anjos doesn’t think the Irishman will ever defend his 145-pound belt. McGregor is fighting 25 pounds above the weight class he holds the title in. The Brazilian also insinuated that McGregor will retire soon.
“The champion, it’s not an injury. The champ is fighting two weight classes above on the same day. In my opinion, he’ll never fight for his 145 title again. He wants to retire as a champion.”