When Rafael dos Anjos pulled out his lightweight championship tilt with Conor McGregor at UFC 196, many were worried the Irishman would scrap the PPV altogether. With thousands of native supporters making the trip to Las Vegas, however, McGregor squashed those concerns when it was announced he would be jumping up two weight classes to take on Nate Diaz at welterweight.
The featherweight champion called out a who's who of fighters at the UFC's go big press conference in September, but not many expected him to have the audacity to challenge at 170-pounds on such short notice.
Dana White believes McGregor is one of a kind and says the 27-year-old truly does back up everything he says.
"There's a lot of people that talk publicly - 'I'll do this; I'd fight this; I'd fight anybody'...nobody really means it when you're on the phone, " White said to Ariel Helwani in a recent interview. "
"This guy (Conor McGregor) means it. He's moving from 145-pounds to 170-pounds. And he keeps this fun, man. He will literally fight anybody. When we called him and told him what was going on, first he's like, 'you gotta be kidding me'. You know, when he found out that dos Anjos broke his foot. And then he's like, 'alright, well, I'm getting to the gym right now - I'll fight anybody. Let me know who I'm fighting; I'll call you tomorrow'".
"This guy is the real deal."
With dos Anjos injured, the Brazilian may never get the chance to fight McGregor if he makes a statement at UFC 196. His longtime coach John Kavanagh has teased at a potential run for the welterweight title and, depending on the result next weekend, "The Notorious" may decide to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 200.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz will headline the UFC 196 pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5th.