What had been rumored for the last week or so became official today.
UFC President Dana White announced on ESPN Sportscenter that featherweight champion Jose Aldo has pulled out of his upcoming title defense against Conor McGregor.
Aldo was reported as having injured his ribs during sparring back on June 23, as we described here at Caged Insider. But the UFC released a statement later that week claiming that the bout was going to happen anyway.
Some believed, some didn’t. It looks like the doubters were right.
The bout, which was scheduled for July 11, was one of the most anticipated in MMA history — pitting one of the sport’s most dominant champions in Aldo against one of its hottest rising stars in McGregor.
Now, McGregor will face Chad Mendes for an interim belt at UFC 189 instead. It’s an unusual move for the promotion, which had previously only unveiled interim titles for long periods of inactivity. Aldo last defended his belt in October 2014.
On the other hand, it may be a matter of “striking while the iron is hot,” considering the stardom of McGregor. But what if he loses?
I like Mini Mendes' chances here, a lot. I think Conor busts him up standing, but having NEVER fought a wrestler, good luck keeping it there
— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) July 1, 2015
Really risky move by UFC. Lots of $ left on the table if Mendes beats Conor & it's not exactly a great stylistic matchup for the Irishman.
— Carlin Bardsley (@CarlinBardsley) July 1, 2015
There is no timetable on Aldo’s return.