Conor McGregor has thrown down the gauntlet to lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos after the UFC last night confirmed the pair will meet on March 5 in Las Vegas.
The match-up has been slated as the main event of UFC 197 which will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where McGregor dispatched of Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds to clinch the featherweight title last month.
The Dubliner has long since expressed his desire to make the divisional migration given the arduous weight cut he endures to hit the scales at 145 lbs, and has immediately been handed the marquee bout in the promotion’s most talent-rich division.
Should McGregor prevail against the formidable Brazilian Dos Anjos, he will be the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions.
Such a feat has only been attempted once before, by the legendary BJ Penn, and, as such, the bookmakers in Las Vegas have already installed Dos Anjos as the marginal favourite.
In a Facebook post last night, McGregor thanked fans for their patience over the decision of his next opponent and vowed to defeat dos Anjos for the "loyal people of Brazil".
“Mr. McGregor was still busy counting the take from his last fight," he wrote.
“He has chosen to dedicate this demolition job to the loyal people of Brazil and all the fans around the globe who stay true to their roots and loyal to their land.
“Mr. McGregor has said that Rafael is a traitor to his people and vows to "behead the 'American Gringo' Rafael Dos Anjos, in the name of La Brasilia!"
“Viva la Brasil!
“See you all in Las Vegas, March 5th!!!
“The King returns!”
McGregor’s next move has been the source of great speculation since he dethroned Aldo and, initially, it was thought he’d defend his featherweight crown against perennial contender Frankie Edgar, though that contest is now likely to go ahead at July’s UFC 200.
That the 27-year-old’s quest for unprecedented glory is being facilitated in such a manner is a sign of the growing power he wields within the organisation.
FINALLY! I felt like Joey in friends with all these secrets Time to make history! pic.twitter.com/K4ocrKeSo2— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) January 12, 2016
Particularly when considering that UFC president Dana White originally stated that McGregor would have to vacate his featherweight crown if he were to challenge for titles in other brackets.
However, the former plumber immediately rubbished this notion at the UFC 194 post fight press conference, and his employers have apparently acquiesced.
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor could be a dual-weight title holder by St Patrick's Day after overnight reports claimed that he would fight for the UFC lightweight title on March 5 against Rafael dos Anjos.