There's absolutely no way Conor McGregor will lose his UFC Featherweight title next month. That's because he'll be challenging Rafael dos Anjos for the Lightweight title on March 5 at UFC 196. McGregor is attempting to become the first dual champion in UFC history, after holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts for Cage Warriors in 2012. It'll be the Irishman's first fight at 155 pounds since he joined the UFC in 2013.

The odds are in his corner. At press time, McGregor is a –150 favorite to beat dos Anjos, after opening as even money on January 10. There's no doubt that McGregor (19-2 lifetime, 7-0 UFC) is the biggest star in the sport today, and with plenty of room for further growth at age 27. But will McGregor finally meet his defeat when he faces dos Anjos at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas?

Underdog is Here

The champ is used to being overlooked. Dos Anjos (24-7 lifetime, 14-5 UFC) was a +350 underdog when he took the Lightweight strap off Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. Then dos Anjos cashed in at a bargain price of –170 when he destroyed Donald Cerrone in the first round this past December. Dos Anjos landed 26 strikes in 66 seconds. Cerrone landed four.

While dos Anjos is known for his striking, he's a well-balanced fighter with a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He took down Pettis nine times out of 10 attempts during their title fight. Submission attempts have been pretty rare from here over the past few years, but dos Anjos has a nasty ground-and-pound attack, and he can still threaten with armbars and chokes if McGregor isn't careful.

Striking Distance

It's tricky to gauge McGregor's chances because we haven't seen enough of his defense. His bona fides as a striker are obvious. McGregor puts in even more volume than dos Anjos, landing 5.53 strikes per minute to 3.06 for the champion. But most of McGregor's fights end by KO or TKO before he gets into much trouble. He only needed 13 seconds to knock out Jose Aldo (–125) and win the Featherweight title last December.

Not that McGregor is incapable of defending himself. He's a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and he's been trained to a very high degree, both mentally and physically, at SBG Ireland under John Kavanagh. Although McGregor and dos Anjos are about the same size, McGregor's three-inch reach advantage could keep his opponent at bay. And just to further confuse things, McGregor is a southpaw who's capable of striking from any angle. This is his fight to lose; it'll be up to dos Anjos to pick his spots and take the challenger down, if McGregor lets him in the way Pettis did.


See all UFC 196 Odds here.


*Odds as of February 8, 2016