After all of the buildup, Jose Aldo will not be defending his belt at UFC 189 against Conor McGregor.
That’s because a rib injury suffered during training will sideline the only featherweight champ the UFC has ever known.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Chad Mendes will face Irish star Conor McGregor for the interim 145-pound belt instead July 11th at the MGM Grand Garden arena in Vegas.
McGregor was having none of it, however.
“If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and face me,” the Dubliner said. “I feel (Aldo) is afraid. The doctors have cleared him to fight, it’s a bruise, but he has still pulled out. So rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we should contest for the interim belt, or in my opinion, the real belt.”
Doctors have determined that while the rib wasn’t broken, the injury is severe enough for the champion to postpone.
Recent developments indicate that Aldo’s injury is legitimate, courtesy of the revealing of Aldo’s x-rays on Twitter by Brazilian MMA reporter Ana Hissa and Divulgação.
Aldo's exams pic.twitter.com/Y6mee0gtPZ
— Ana Hissa (@AnaHissa) July 2, 2015
Aldo also talked to Brazilian TV network Globo about the injury.
“I just feel he was beaten mentally before I had the chance to beat him physically,” McGregor said of Aldo. “I felt even through the World Tour and all the buildup he was looking for his way out, and thankfully for him, his coach and his team, they have found their way out.”
At any rate, McGregor must turn his frustration now on Mendes.
“I’m gonna demolish him,” McGregor said. “I’m gonna rip his head off.”
“I am confident going in against any man on the roster. I feel I am number one on the roster. That is why an opponent change does not matter. Essentially the opponent is an illusion in there. It’s you versus you, so it doesn’t matter who is across from me July 11. I will charge forward, I will put the pressure on, and I will get the victory.”
“I think it’s gonna be a great fight,” UFC president Dana White said. “If anybody doesn’t know, Chad Mendes just fought Jose Aldo in a five-round war, one of the best fights I’ve ever seen, so it should be fun.”