MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Bring it on: Irish brawler Conor McGregor to headline UFC’s mixed martial arts debut in New York

Wildly popular fighter will challenge for Eddie Alvarez’s lightweight title at Madison Square Garden in November

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 11:33pm

Conor McGregor will fight for Eddie Alvarez’s lightweight title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) debut in New York.

It will be the main event for the mixed martial arts promotion at Madison Square Garden on November 12.

McGregor (20-3) is a wildly popular Irish brawler who has become the UFC’s biggest active star in the past two years with a series of gritty fights and a loquacious promotional style.

Although he won the UFC’s featherweight title last December with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo, his last two fights were lucrative welterweight bouts against Nate Diaz, with McGregor avenging his loss to Diaz in August.

McGregor gets to keep his 145-pound title when he takes on Alvarez (28-4), who won the 155-pound belt in July with a first-round stoppage of Rafael Dos Anjos.

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The stacked Madison Square Garden card also includes new welterweight champion Tyron Woodley’s first title defence against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, along with straw-weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s defence against fellow Pole Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Popular veteran fighters Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Miesha Tate, Frankie Edgar and Rashad Evans are also in the show.

If he wins, McGregor would be the first fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously. He still hasn’t defended his featherweight belt.

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Aldo beat Edgar in July to win an interim featherweight title, and the Brazilian is unlikely to be happy about the UFC’s latest decision. UFC president Dana White had previously indicated that McGregor would need to defend his belt against Aldo soon.

Unbeaten lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov is also unhappy about McGregor taking his place in line to fight Alvarez. The tough Russian fighter tweeted at Alvarez and McGregor that “your time will come to get my hands on you”.