UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has pulled out of his anticipated title defense against Conor McGregor with an injury he suffered last week.
It was reported that Aldo had suffered a fractured rib and his bout with the Irishman was in jeopardy, and later on the UFC confirmed that the fight was still on, despite the injury.
Jose Aldo out, Chad Mendes meets Conor McGregor for interim belt at UFC 189
However, the Brazilian has deemed himself unable to fight in two weeks, and now top contender Chad Mendes has filled in to face McGregor for the interim championship.
UFC officials broke the news on Tuesday evening.
“Andre Pederneiras, his coach, called and basically said that Aldo’s rib is too painful, and he will not be fighting,” UFC President Dana White said on SportsCenter. “So Chad Mendes now will fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt. Jose Aldo’s pulled out of five title fights. Conor’s ready to go. The No. 1 guy in the world, Chad Mendes, is ready to go. So it makes sense. They’ll fight for the interim title, and whenever Jose Aldo is ready, then that fight can happen to unify.
“It’s his decision. I don’t feel great about it. We’ve spent a lot of money promoting this fight. A lot of people are excited about the fight, so it’s definitely disappointing.”
Aldo is the only featherweight champion and hasn’t lost for 10 years. In his last outing, he bested Mendes for the second time in a competitive five-round war that earned ‘Fight of the Year’ honors.
McGregor is also undefeated inside the Octagon and is coming off a huge TKO win over Dennis Siver. Other wins include a stoppage over Dustin Poirier and a dominant decision win over top contender Max Holloway.
Mendes is coming off a big knockout win over top five 145-pounder Ricardo Lamas this past April. Prior to that, he dropped a decision to Aldo.
“If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and face me,” McGregor said on the show. “I feel he’s 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.
“I just feel he was beaten mentally before I and the chance to beat him physically. I felt through the (UFC 189) ‘World Tour,’ he was looking for his way out and thankfully for him, his coach, his team, they have found their way out.”
McGregor vs. Mendes will headline UFC 189.
UFC 189 takes place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 11.