After plenty of trash-talking to promote their upcoming grudge match, Cole Miller and Conor McGregor unfortunately won’t get the chance to settle their differences at UFC Fight Night 46 in Ireland. Miller is out of their main event clash after sustaining torn ligaments in his thumb during training. It’s a tough blow for the Octagon veteran as this would have been the biggest opportunity of his UFC career.
As a result, “Notorious” will now square off against Diego Brandao on July 19 in Dublin. It’s the long-awaited return of the brash Irish fighter after being on the shelf since a win back in August over Max Holloway at Fight Night 26. McGregor suffered a torn ACL in that fight.
The no. 13-ranked McGregor has verbally blasted the elite of the featherweight division, and in the process has put a major target on his back. Miller had been hoping to derail the McGregor hype train, but will now have to wait in line. McGregor has recorded two straight Octagon victories and is undefeated in his last 10 fights. He’s 14-2 with 12 of those victories by knockout.
This is an outstanding opportunity for Brandao to try and get his career back on track. He was blasted in the first round by Dustin Poirier at UFC 168 and hasn’t fought since. The former Ultimate Fighter winner had been slated to face Brian Ortega at the recent TUF Brazil 3 finale, but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
He’s 4-2 in his UFC career and holds a notable victory over Dennis Bermudez that gave him the TUF Season 14 title. Brandao is a strong finisher, with 14 of his 18 career victories having come by knockout or submission.
While this matchup won’t have the personal venom or buildup that the Miller-McGregor clash would have had, it still has the makings of being an entertaining firefight. McGregor will be looking to keep his positive momentum rolling by putting on an impressive show for his raucous supporters on home soil. In the meantime, Brandao can raise his stock substantially if he can pull off the upset in hostile territory.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports