Rafael dos Anjos: ‘Lightweight champion’ shares pic of broken foot that ruled him out of McGregor bout

Updated: February 25, 2016
Rafael dos Anjos: Lightweight champion shares pic of broken foot that ruled him out of McGregor bout

Rafael dos Anjos has shared a picture of the broken foot that ruled him out of a UFC 196 fight with Conor McGregor next week.

Rafael dos Anjos has taken to Twitter to post up a picture of the extent of the damage done to his foot and it looks quite clear that it is serious.

“Sorry to all my real fans and @ufc,I never cancel any fight due to injury but accidents happen #Jesus #truechampion,” tweeted Dos Anjos with a picture of a rather crooked looked foot attached.

Rafael Dos Anjos’s withdrawal puts paid, for the moment, to McGregor’s attempt to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two division champion and, for the Irish megastar, it must feel like a bad case of déjà vu.

Then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled out of UFC 189 citing a suspected broken rib, forcing the UFC into a scramble before settling on an interim title belt fight between McGregor and Chad Mendes.

For the UFC, however, it is not as easy as simply giving someone, anyone, an interim title shot against McGregor this time.

For a start, Aldo had a history of dropping out of fights and there were many who contended the rib injury that kept him out of 189 was not that bad. Aldo himself admitted he could have fought, just prior to his defeat at the hands of McGregor at UFC 194.

Rafael dos Anjos, although he has not been the most active champion in the organisation, is reliable. He is a fighter who dominated Anthony Pettis with a ruined knee. If he can show, he will show. There is no justifiable reason for the UFC to strip him of the title without the move coming off as outrageously, unjustifiably biased towards McGregor.

Moving McGregor off the card and having bantamweight champion Holly Holm’s first title defence since her stunning obliteration of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 as the main event is an option, but the pay-per-view numbers would undoubtedly take a hit without McGregor on the card, as good as Holm and her opponent Miesha Tate are.

This means the only option is to find an opponent for McGregor to fight in a non-title, five-round main event, the first time a non-title fight would headline over a title fight since UFC 51, when Tito Ortiz and Vitor Belfort shared the spotlight over a both a heavyweight and a middleweight title fight.

Luckily, there is no shortage of challengers for McGregor. His unrelenting trash talk has made him a target, and on Tuesday night both Twitter and Facebook were alive with speculation.

With Frankie Edgar out injured, two men have firmed as favourites – Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Nate Diaz.

McGregor and Cerrone have had run-ins, and although Cerrone fought on Monday at 170 pounds, he came through the fight unscathed and his reputation for being up for a fight with anyone at any time means he will inevitably jump at the chance to fight McGregor – his team is believed to have gone so far as to put his name forward already.

Diaz, however, is another strong possibility simply based on the epic trash talk the Stockton fighter could generate.

The Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter is an outstanding boxer and an unsociable fighter at the best of times. A shot against McGregor for the veteran lightweight would put him on the fast track to a rematch with Dos Anjos, a fight he desperately wants.

Another fighter to be considered is Jose Aldo, who challenged his nemesis to a rematch in a Facebook post on January 28. The former champion hasn’t posted to his Facebook or Twitter since.

A rematch at catch-weight between Aldo and McGregor is intriguing, if only because it couldn’t possibly end as quickly as their first fight, but for my money, the UFC should be taking a long, hard look at Nate Diaz.

Diaz has the size and elite jiu jitsu to truly test McGregor, and he is arguably one of the most popular, if not the most divisive, fighters in the lightweight division.

Only time will tell who the UFC will pick but one thing is for sure – whoever it is, McGregor will still be laughing all the way to the bank.