Cole Miller Out, Diego Brandao In To Face Conor McGregor At UFC Fight Night 46 In Dublin

Just as their war of words was getting heated up, UFC featherweight Cole Miller has been forced out of his awaited grudge match against Conor McGregor in the main event of July 19’s UFC Fight Night 46 from Dublin, Ireland, with torn ligaments in his thumb.

UFC officials confirmed “Magrinho’s” removal from the card today, and they also announced McGregor’s next opponent.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 winner Diego Brandao has stepped into face McGregor. Brandao was last seen suffering a first round TKO loss to No. 6-ranked Dustin Poirier at UFC 168. The loss, before which Brandao missed weight and threatened to “stab Poirier in the neck with a pen,” snapped a three-fight losing streak for the Brazilian brawler.

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McGregor, meanwhile, has been out of action since tearing his ACL during a UFC Fight Night 36 decision victory over Max Holloway in August 2013, only his second UFC bout. But despite his relative inexperience, McGregor has drawn a massive following thanks to his brash trash talk and Irish heritage.

And while his rivalry with Miler was becoming an entertaining one, it’s tough to argue that Brandao won’t play the perfect role of heel for ‘Notorious’s’ return to the Emerald Isles.

After his recent troubles, does Brandao have what it takes to rebound and score the upset in highly hostile territory?

Photo: Winslow Townson for USA TODAY Sports