Urijah Faber was offered, and accepted, lightweight bout with Conor McGregor

Kevin IoleCombat columnist
Cagewriter
Urijah Faber was offered, and accepted, lightweight bout with Conor McGregor
Urijah Faber was offered, and accepted, lightweight bout with Conor McGregor

There have been numerous reports of fighters who, for whatever reason, declined to fight Conor McGregor when the UFC was looking for an opponent for him on Tuesday after lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos' broken foot forced him to pull out of UFC 196.

And McGregor, the UFC's featherweight champion, received an extraordinary amount of credit for agreeing to move up two weight classes, to welterweight, to face Nate Diaz in the newly constituted UFC 196 on March 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

There was another fighter, however, willing to make that same two-weight class jump. McGregor went from featherweight, where the limit is 145, over lightweight and to welterweight, where the limit is 170, to face Diaz

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Bantamweight Urijah Faber told Yahoo Sports he was offered, and accepted, a bout against McGregor at lightweight. Faber usually fights at 135 and accepted a bout at 155 pounds with just 11 days before the bout.

UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

UFC president Dana White confirmed to Yahoo Sports Faber's account. Faber is one of four known fighters to agree to the short-notice bout, along with Diaz, ex-lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.

None of the other three, though, would have been making the dramatic jump up in weight that Faber would have done. Faber, who was the World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion from 2006 through 2008, has fought at bantamweight with the exception of one bout since 2010.

"Dana called me and offered me the fight," Faber said. "He said I was who he is pushing for. I accepted [but] Conor ended up wanting Diaz. I was ready. Lean at 158 [pounds]."

Faber coached alongside McGregor on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter last year, but there is a large difference in size between them and they weren't expected to meet, as coaches usually do.

But when the opportunity arose, Faber was there. He posted a photo of himself on the scale at 158 to Instagram and campaigned for the fight.

He nearly got it, and would have been a huge underdog, but wasn't concerned.

"He looked friggin' huge," Faber said of McGregor. "I would have been at a big disadvantage, but would have had to use speed and grappling. [It would have been an] uphill battle, but I don't care."

And that's why he's been one of the sport's most popular fighters for the last 10 years.

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