UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was supposed to be in that spot, but an injury forced him out of the fight with McGregor leading Diaz to step in as a late replacement.
Dos Anjos appeared on the MMA Hour and spoke about the missed opportunity (transcribed by MMA Fighting).
“I’ve been around the game for a long time, 12 years, and I never cancelled any fight due to injury,” dos Anjos said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I always show up, but unfortunately for this fight, I broke my foot, man. A lot of people are making fun of it, and I don’t like to make fun of people’s injuries. I think we are fighters, so everybody is going to get injured one day. So, unfortunately I lost my payday, but I think everything is God’s plan for my life. I believe in that.
“But man, what went through my mind: I fought Nate Diaz already, and I knew, Conor, he’s a good fighter, but I think I can put a worse beating on him, for sure.”
Dos Anjos looked at things in a positive way with everything that happened and still sees a chance that he will meet McGregor in the Octagon.
“It would be good, everybody likes money, but I think money is not the most important (thing) for me,” dos Anjos said. “I’m really happy with how much I make, and I have everything in my life. If one day, he fights, he makes good wins and he’s trying to fight for the title, I will be there. But, you know, life is not all about money.
“I don’t need to fight him to change my life,” dos Anjos added. “I think my life will keep on going, and I think I have a lot more challenges in my weight division. I think he doesn’t deserve a fight at 155 pounds. He was just submitted by the No. 5 ranked (fighter) with 10 days’ notice.”