Any fight against Conor McGregor is a big money fight and with Rafael Dos Anjos out of UFC 196 some lucky, or unlucky, UFC fighter is holding a ticket for $500k.
Last year, the UFC and Conor McGregor found themselves in a very similar situation. Then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo had to pull out of UFC 189 with a rib injury, leaving the UFC with only 2 weeks to promote a new opponent for McGregor. The promotion gave Chad Mendes $500k to step off the couch and into the octagon against McGregor.
That didn’t end well for Mendes.
The same thing will play out with UFC 196. Conor McGregor will once again be given 11 days to adjust to an opponent and more importantly the opponent will only have 10 days to get in shape for a 5 round fight against one of the best fighters in the world.
Due to the short window of time there are less than a handful of true opponents to choose from. Here’s our list of possibilities.
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone
Cowboy just fought on Sunday’s UFC Pittsburgh card but as we’ve seen before Cerrone stays ready to fight and does so successfully when called upon.
A little over a year ago Cerrone was in a similar situation when he had to step in against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson on short notice and he won that fight by decision.
After a masterful choke out of his opponent this past weekend Cerrone will be able to maintain his cardio and enter the octagon at nearly 100% in two weeks. Now comes the bad news.
Cerrone fought last weekend at 170 lbs, his first time fighting at that weight, and it’d be nearly impossible for him to cut down to lightweight for a fight against the usually 145lb McGregor.
The UFC could implement a catchweight around 163lbs for the fight, which is still difficult on Cerrone’s body after he’s rehydrated from his last fight, but then they’d be putting their most prized fighter in a rough position.
McGregor was going to face a huge adjustment moving up to fight a true 155lb fighter, He’d be more susceptible to takedowns and ground work when facing an opponent in the 160s. The nearly 20lb difference in opponents from his last fight to now would be hard for any fighter to overcome.
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