Rafael dos Anjos believes the Conor McGregor incident at UFC 223 urged the UFC to move the Colby Covington fight from Brazil to Chicago.
Conor McGregor’s rampage during UFC 223 media day led to a good number of repercussions. According to Rafael Dos Anjos, it could also be the reason why the UFC decided to move his interim title fight with Colby Covington from UFC 224 in Brazil, to UFC 225 in Chicago.
“I flew to New York to have that fight announced in Rio, but I think it was [switched] because of that Conor thing,” dos Anjos said Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “Like, after that incident with the bus and all of that, I think the UFC was kinda afraid. Colby’s been talking a lot of crap about Brazilians and if something happened there — if the security couldn’t hold one guy, how can they hold a Brazilian crowd [going] crazy because of the stuff that this guy’s been saying?”
Covington rose to infamy when he drew the ire of Brazilians by referring to them as “filthy animals living in a dump” during his post-fight speech in front of the Sao Paulo crowd when he defeated Demian Maia last October. Dos Anjos admits he was a bit disappointed about the sudden change, but remains confident that fans will be on his side.
“To have this fight in Rio would be a good story, especially getting the belt there, it would be really cool,” dos Anjos said. “But, I think, the one thing, Rio, it’s not Sao Paulo. The crowds in Sao Paulo, it’s different than the crowds in Rio. Rio people are more savage.”
“But I think I’m still going to have the crowd on my side,” he added. “It’ll be a good opportunity. I think everything happens for a reason, but I think the location — it’s not going to change the result of the fight. It’ll be even better to beat this guy in his own country, having the American crowd on my side.”
UFC 225 will take place on June 9th, and will be headlined by the middleweight title rematch between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.