Hot on the heels of his first round TKO of Dustin Poirier this past weekend at UFC 178, Irish sensation Conor McGregor made a surprise announcement that he would be fighting Diego Sanchez at UFC 180 in Mexico on November 15th.
“I am fighting @DiegoSanchezUFC in Mexico, November 15th,” McGregor wrote on Twitter last night. “He spoke a big game. Now he will pay with his career. VIVA LA EIRE!!!”
The announcement left people scratching their heads for a number of reasons, including the fact that Sanchez already has an opponent in former TUF winner Norman Parke, plus the small matter of Sanchez currently being an unranked lightweight, while McGregor is pushing for title contention at No.5 in the featherweight division.
In stepped UFC president Dana White to clear up the confusion, telling ESPN last night that McGregor won’t be fighting Sanchez after all.
“That kid is nuts,” White said of McGregor. “No he’s not [fighting Sanchez]. He wants to but he’s not.”
White’s probably not mad at “The Notorious” 26 year-old though given that just a few days ago he described him as being, “a force that I have never seen ever. Bigger than Brock Lesnar when he was here. Bigger than any of the fighters we’ve ever had.”
That may be hyperbole on his part, but McGregor certainly has taken the UFC by storm since joining in April of last year, first making his impression felt with his outspoken, charismatic personality, but also then backing his words up with action in the Octagon, producing a four-fight winning streak to date including two ‘Performance Of The Night’ and one ‘Knockout Of The Night’ awards along the way.
Such is his popularity in his homeland that White revealed at the weekend that 10% of the ticket sales for UFC 178 had come from McGregor’s native Ireland despite the fact that he was only third on the bill for the event.
It will be interesting to see who McGregor does eventually fight next. Prior to last night’s red herring there had been talk that he could be on course to be fast-tracked to a title shot in the featherweight division against the winner of the upcoming Jose Aldo Vs Chad Mendes title rematch in Brazil.