The UFC has finally locked in a date for Conor McGregor / Jose Aldo featherweight title fight that was originally supposed to go down in July. That match was scrapped when Aldo broke a rib during training two weeks before the event. McGregor ended up taking on the next toughest fighter in the division, Chad Mendes, and beating him in dominant fashion.
Now McGregor will have another shot at Aldo on Dec. 12 in Las Vegas. The booking of the MGM Grand Garden Arena for this fight ends weeks of speculation that the UFC was setting up a mega-event at Cowboys Stadium for the fight, pairing it with their other superstar draw Ronda Rousey. According to UFC president Dana White, those plans are dead. (Via Yahoo Sports)
“That fight isn’t going to be on the [Aldo-McGregor] card, for sure. If we were going to go to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, that’s another story, but the MGM really wanted the fight and they made a huge effort for it and they got it. And it works out better for us to be in Las Vegas.”
The UFC takes their Vegas roots very seriously and make a point of keeping most of their major fights in Sin City. But the Cowboys Stadium plan came very close to becoming reality. White told Yahoo if he had been asked last Thursday he “would have told you for sure we were going to Dallas Cowboys Stadium.” Unfortunately, whatever happened between last Thursday and this week killed the deal, and now Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey will fight on separate cards.
That won’t stop McGregor vs. Aldo from being one of the biggest cards of the year for the fight promotion. While he hasn’t hit the same stratospheric level of popularity as Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor is still the UFC’s second biggest draw and probably the best smack talker in the game. If Ronda Rousey is the UFC’s Mike Tyson, Conor McGregor is their Muhammad Ali.
This fight with Aldo is the culmination of two years worth of hype and trash talking where Aldo dismissed McGregor as nothing but a “court jester” while McGregor continued to steadily climb the ranks. A promotional world tour for their July fight resulted in even more bad blood, and the fallout from Aldo’s controversial injury and withdrawal from the fight was so bad it may have permanently damaged the featherweight champion’s relationship with the UFC.
There’s bound to be more drama surrounding this fight in the four months leading up to Dec. 12. That’s all well and good, so long as none of it involved failed drug tests, injuries, or anything else that might cause another long delay.