Though no official announcement yet made, Conor McGregor planning to fight at UFC 197 regardless of opponent

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Conor McGregor (Photo credit Gary A. Vasquez © USA Today)

There seems to be some hangup on UFC 197 and the matter of Conor McGregor’s reported Lightweight Title fight with Rafael dos Anjos. It was initially believed that the UFC would officially announce the fight, along with Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate, during this weekend’s NFL playoff game between the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers on Fox, but that announcement didn’t come.

A report out of Globo in Brazil suggested that McGregor was delaying things and demanding more money, but his team has since refuted that, and his striking coach Owen Roddy said on Monday that he’s expecting to fight on that card regardless of the opponent.

“All I know just from listening to Conor is that he is fighting March 5,” Roddy said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “The opponent is up in the air. It could be dos Anjos. It could be whoever. But the thing is Conor is looking to fight March 5. Realistically, everybody wants to see Conor, so the opponent is not really important. I’m sure he’ll be fighting March 5. So stay tuned.”

His head coach, John Kavanagh, echoed those sentiments in a quick post on Twitter:

This would suggest that it’s dos Anjos and his team holding up the announcement of the fight, though until anything is announced otherwise, that appears to still be the plan. Regardless, it seems McGregor is indeed fighting on March 5 at UFC 197.

Penick’s Analysis: If dos Anjos is looking for more money from the UFC to take this fight, good for him, but he’s got less leverage than did McGregor. Regardless of the hangup, the UFC’s going to want to get it announced as soon as possible, with March 5 just a month and a half away. That said, if dos Anjos holds things up, we’ll see whether or not McGregor makes the cut to defend his Featherweight Title, or if he winds up getting some other lightweight opponent. I doubt that the latter will wind up being the case, and indeed the dos Anjos fight is probably still going to happen, but the fact it hasn’t been announced yet certainly makes things a bit murkier.

[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]

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