We are just eight weeks removed from the UFC's debut show in Madison Square Garden and, with the clocking ticking ever closer to the historic event, we are still without a main event. That looks set to change tonight after numerous reports online suggest that a deal has been struck and the fight will be announced during tonight's UFC Hidalgo card.
The UFC have been attempting to book Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor to headline the card for weeks now, with Alvarez's lightweight belt on the line. All parties want the fight, the only stumbling block has been McGregor's reluctance to relinquish the featherweight title he won from José Aldo last December.
If the Alvarez fight goes ahead, this would be McGregor's third successive bout outside of the featherweight division that he is currently the champion of. Immediately after McGregor's victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 202 last month, UFC president Dana White reaffirmed his commitment that the Dubliner would have to either defend his title in his next fight or he would have to hand it over.
Speaking to NBC Sports last month, White said:
He has to either defend his title or give it up and decide what he wants to do next. We'll get that figured out with him.
White did stop short of saying that the promotion would strip 'The Notorious' of his title but, as is McGregor's wont, the idea of him voluntarily giving up a championship is about as alien a concept to him as there is.
Eddie Alvarez, who won his UFC title from Rafael Dos Anjos in July, has campaigned for the McGregor fight in recent weeks. Speaking to CBS Sports, Alvarez insisted that McGregor would be in for a hard night if they were to ever meet in the cage.
I don't know him personally, but thank God he's good at talking because he can't fight for shit. Look, in this sport - the good thing about the UFC and MMA in general is a lot of it's based on perception. They're very good at tweaking this perception. If I can put the right guy with the right mouthpiece in front of the right opponents, we can build a champion, but he doesn't really have to beat the best guys; we just have to give him the right match-ups. This is what this guy's been given. Any real fighter, anybody who knows the sport of MMA, sees the style match-ups that he picks and understands this guy is not putting himself in any danger. He's not fighting anyone who he feels he can lose to.
That's some serious fighting talk from Alvarez and, as is one of the best aspects of this sport, you get to see what happens if and when they eventually face each other.
UFC 205 will be the UFC's first show (in the modern era of MMA at least) in New York after the state assembly overwhelmingly voted to legalise the sport. New York was the final state in the United States to approve the legalisation of the sport.
The card also features a welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson.
The full card for UFC 205, as of time of writing, is:
Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson
Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero
Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy
Gian Villante vs. Marcos Rogerio De Lima
Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian