At the turn of the year Conor McGregor set out to become the first simultaneous two-weight UFC world champion.
On November 12, at UFC 205 in the main event of the promotion’s momentous New York debut, the divisive Irishman will get the opportunity to fulfill that ambition as it was confirmed today the featherweight champion will take on lightweight king Eddie Alvarez.
The pair head up a loaded card which will also feature Tyron Woodley’s maiden defence of the welterweight title against Stephen Thompson while Polish compatriots Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz meet for the women’s strawweight belt.
Despite reports last week that McGregor was no longer expected to fight at Madison Square Garden because of a foot injury, UFC president Dana White confirmed he will have his shot at history while also revealing, should he emerge victorious, that the 28-year-old will have to surrender one of the belts.
“So this fight’s coming up and he wants to try to gain both belts. He will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York,” White told ESPN.
It’s not the first time McGregor has been scheduled to add the 155lbs strap to his featherweight belt. He was initially due to face then-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 on March 5 but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw from the clash a couple of weeks out due to a broken foot
Nate Diaz stepped in on short notice and choked McGregor out in the second round before the Irishman exacted revenge at UFC 202 in August with a majority decision win.
McGregor was said to still be feeling the affects of that five-round war but despite White’s advice was keen to fight in November.
“Conor and I were going back and forth about the foot and I said ‘listen you’re not a doctor’ and he told me ‘I know my body better than you do’,” White said. “So I’ll give him that and we made the fight. It’s the reason we all love Conor McGregor.”
As the highly-anticipating UFC 204 beckons, the passionate Robin Black gets to grips with the fighters’ fortes weaknesses, highlighting the stylistic differences between each contestant.
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Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino gave the UFC brass another strong reminder that it’s time to usher in a new era for women’s MMA after she decimated Lina Lansberg in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 95 main event in Brazil.
The former Strikeforce and Invicta featherweight champion, making her second catch-weight 140lbs appearance under the UFC banner, added credence to her title as the most dominant female fighter on the planet as she devastated Lansberg on her way to another impressive victory inside the Octagon.
But the Brazilian’s future is still clouded as the 31-year-old once again ruled out cutting down to 135lbs to challenge for UFC bantamweight gold.
The promotion currently only caters to two women’s weight divisions – 115lbs and 135lbs – but there have long been calls to add classes at 145lbs and 125lbs as the talent pool of female fighters expands.
With Justino continuing to cut down to 140lbs for meaningless catch-weight fights the cries for new divisions grow ever louder but ‘Cyborg’ maintains she is happy to make that cut again.
“I never choose opponents,” she said at the post-fight press conference in Brasilia. “I always train and wait for them to choose for me. To fight against a top 10, I won’t cut down to 135 and they won’t want to fight at 145, so I will cry to make 140 and they will eat some pizza to make 140 and we put on a fight for the fans. Who knows, maybe we’ll do the fight that everybody wants with Ronda (Rousey).”
Indeed, a superfight with Rousey has long whetted the appetite but it remains a distant dream. However, a 145lbs division built around Justino may not be too far away.
In the co-main event, Renan Barao scored a much needed win over Phillipe Nover.
The former bantamweight champion was under pressure after dropping his last two fights but is now off the mark after moving up to featherweight.