Conor McGregor's plans to become a two-weight UFC world champion look to have been temporarily scuppered after Rafael dos Anjos was forced to pull out of their lightweight title fight next month due to injury.
After winning the featherweight strap with a stunning 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo in December,"The Notorious" was due to step up to 155lbs for the very first time in a star-studded UFC 196 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 5 March. Such a bout now looks to have been postponed, however, with sources – including MMAFighting.com – claiming that Dos Anjos suffered a broken foot in training last week.
There has yet to be an official update from either camp or indeed the UFC themselves, but it is believed that the company is scrambling for a late replacement opponent. Eddie Alvarez, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anthony Pettis, Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz have all been mentioned as possible contenders, while rival rumours suggest that Donald Cerrone could step in to take the fight at short notice.
The American currently sits at number five in the lightweight rankings, but timing could be a major issue given that his last fight came at welterweight against Alex Oliveira on 21 February. Cerrone, who lost to Dos Anjos in Orlando before Christmas, emerged victorious on that occasion with a triangle choke submission of his fellow "Cowboy" at UFC Fight Night 83.
As it stands, UFC 196 will still feature one headline main event, with Holly Holm providing the first defence of the women's bantamweight belt – which she won with a devastating victory over the previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey – against Miesha Tate. The MMA promotion comes to the United Kingdom this weekend as Manchester's Michael Bisping meets former reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva at the O2 Arena in London.