UFC made a wise move by coming up with a contingency plan in place for the UFC 189 headliner as Jose Aldo has withdrawn from his featherweight title defense against Conor McGregor citing a rib injury.
UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (25-1) has withdrawn from a highly-anticipated title defense against Conor McGregor (17-2) at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas due to a rib injury .
UFC president Dana White announced Aldo’s withdrawal on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Tuesday, June 30. White noted that former two-time title contender Chad Mendes will step into Aldo’s place and fight “The Notorious” for the interim featherweight title.
Aldo suffered the injury while training in Rio de Janeiro last week. Despite his attempts to recover in time to still compete on the pay-per-view card, he was ultimately forced to pull out.
“Aldo’s rib is too painful and he will not be fighting,” Dana White said.
“Chad Mendes will fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt. It’s (Aldo’s) decision. I don’t feel great about it. We’ve spent a lot of money promoting this fight and a lot of people were excited. It’s definitely disappointing,” White added.
However, reports regarding the severity of Aldo’s injury have conflicted as according to his coach, Andre Pederneiras, Brazilian physicians have diagnosed a fractured rib. In a statement released last week, the UFC noted that Aldo suffered from a rub contusion as well as damaged cartilage, according to records on ESPN .
Fighting out of Dublin, McGregor has spent the last eight weeks training in Las Vegas. Talking about Aldo’s pulling out of the much-publicized bout, he said he couldn’t force another man to fight him.
“If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and fight me,” McGregor said.
“Doctors have cleared him to fight — it’s a bruise — but he still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we will contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt,” McGregor added.
Some theories suggest that Aldo’s injury was trick to play WWE-style mind games with McGregor.
“Four minutes into the first, Chad Mendes will be unconscious,” McGregor tweeted .
Mendes lost to Aldo at UFC 179 and now has less than two weeks to prepare for the bout. Mendes last fought in April, defeating Ricardo Lamas via first round TKO. McGregor, on the other hand is undefeated since joining the UFC. “The Celtic Tiger” defeated Dennis Siver via TKO in January.
“Of course, I think about fighting Conor all the time,” Mendes said when he was announced as the promotion’s backup plan for Aldo last week.
“Conor is a guy that has made a huge splash in the division. He’s brought a lot of attention to the sport and to the division. This is a guy who has worked his way to the top and I knew, eventually, I was going to fight. That time is now,” he added.
According to Bleacher Report , chances are the winner of McGregor vs. Mendes will be facing Aldo next as UFC boss, Dana White tries filling the featherweight championship on a non-interim basis.