UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has taken to Twitter to respond to Rafael dos Anjos and Nate Diaz, who both called him out at UFC Orlando on Saturday.
Both men focused on the Irishman after winning their fights this weekend and are clearly keen to take him on in their next bout. McGregor, it seems, is well-aware of just how valuable a commodity he is at this juncture:
Dos Anjos affirmed his position at the top of the lightweight division with a dominant defence of his title against Donald Cerrone, stopping the Cowboy in the opening round. It seems as though the Brazilian is ready to take on The Notorious next, with McGregor open in his intentions to step up in weight class.
“Listen, McGregor, if you want to come to the lightweight division, this is my division,” said Dos Anjos, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.
It’d certainly be a big test for McGregor. Dos Anjos has always been a powerful competitor who grinds down flashy strikers over time. But the Brazilian proved he has the aggression to complement his technical talents with a dominant display against Cerrone.
As Chamatkar Sandhu of MMAjunkie noted in the aftermath of the lightweight title bout, Dos Anjos seems to have now cemented his status as an elite competitor in the UFC:
Diaz also seems to quite fancy a shot at McGregor. Speaking with Joe Rogan on Fox Sports (h/t MMA Fighting—warning: expletive language used) in an interview that was censored after his thrilling win over Michael Johnson, the lightweight was in bullish mood when talk turned to a possible bout with the Irishman:
Conor McGregor, you're taking everything I worked for, mother f----r. I'm gonna fight your f-----g ass. You know what's the real fight, what's the real money fight -- me. Not these clowns that you already punked at the press conference. Ain't nobody wants to see that. You know you can beat them already. It's an easy fight. You want the real s--t. Right here
It’s clear that McGregor is in demand after his tremendous win over Jose Aldo at UFC 194. The Irishman dropped the former champion inside 13 seconds with a clinical left and handed the Brazilian his first defeat in 10 years in the process.
After taking the featherweight crown, McGregor now looks set to move up to the lightweight division as he seeks to become only the third fighter ever to win titles in two different classes. As is evident by the talk from Dos Anjos and Diaz, it seems as though there are plenty ready to test whether he’s capable of making such a sizeable step.
MMA journalist David Kano thinks Dos Anjos’ style would actually make him a very difficult opponent for McGregor:
Given the power he’s long showcased at featherweight, seeing how hard McGregor could hit at lightweight is a tantalising proposition. It seems a more natural weight for the Irishman too, who has regularly looked gaunt at weigh-ins, with the cut taking a noticeable toll on his physique a day before the fight.
But there are certain advantages McGregor enjoys at featherweight, such as power and reach, which he wouldn’t be privy to a class up. Attempting to overcome those kinds of obstacles will make for intriguing viewing, and given the gravitas which accompanies the featherweight, there’s clearly no shortage of fighters ready to put him to test.