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Rafael Dos Anjos Pulls Out of UFC 196, UFC Now Seeking Replacement Opponent for McGregor

(The curse of El Chapo continues…)

For the second time in as many contests, Conor McGregor has been scheduled to face a Brazilian champion, only to have said champion go down with an injury just weeks before the fight. If that sounds like we’re dick-riding the featherweight champion, we’re not. Just stating the facts, people.

In either case, Rafael Dos Anjos has in fact pulled out of his UFC 196 main event due to a broken foot suffered during training, leaving the Notorious one in need of yet another last-minute replacement. And here’s where things are getting interesting…

As you might expect, the first name to come up as a potential replacement for Dos Anjos was Frankie Edgar, who was unsuccessfully rallying for a fight against McGregor right up to the point that he was booked against the lightweight champion. Unfortunately, Ariel Helwani was the first to break the news that Edgar would be unavailable to fight due to a lingering injury, via Twitter.

Next in line was perennial lightweight contender Nate Diaz, who is fresh off an impressive win over Michael Johnson, wherein he called out McGregor in a profanity-laced post-fight interview. And for what it’s worth, it looks like Diaz is at least willing to face McGregor on short notice, but only under one condition…

We’ll give Diaz props for turning Conor’s words against him, but yeah, next option…

Given the insanely long build-up and insanely short actual length of their last fight, booking Jose Aldo in a (non-title fight) rematch also seemed to make sense. When asked point blank if he would take the fight, however, Aldo revealed some interesting news via his manager and coach, Andre Pederneiras.

“Dana [White] called me, telling what happened and asking if Aldo was in shape to fight. I said he wasn’t and that there wasn’t enough time, and unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to fight next week,” said Pederneiras via MMAFighting.

While this notion seems to be in direct contradiction to a statement made by Aldo on Instagram a few weeks ago, it’s perhaps best that we just move on. The man is only two months out from a vicious KO loss, after all.

Of course, when all else fails, you’re left with Donald Cerrone. As we know, “Cowboy” happens to be one of the few fighters that is both perpetually ready to fight and has happened to mince words with McGregor in the past. While he may be coming off a win over Alex Oliveira that took place just two days ago, Cerrone has already verbally agreed to face McGregor. In fact, Cerrone has already begun to make the cut down from 170 pounds, posting an auspicious video on Instagram and writing on Twitter that “Anyone, anywhere. I’ll be ready. Just waiting on this call.”

So there are a couple sensible options out there to save UFC 196 — mainly Diaz or Cerrone — but the fate of the card now lies in the UFC’s hands. Let’s hope they don’t botch it.

We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.

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