UFC 189 has a new main event.
Featherweight champion Jose Aldo has withdrawn from his July 11 title defense against Conor McGregor due to an rib injury. Chad Mendes, who had been on standby since news of Aldo’s injury broke, will now face McGregor for the interim 145-pound crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
McGregor, appearing with UFC President Dana White on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Tuesday evening to break the news, sat stonefaced as he addressed the situation with his typical flair.
“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.”
The buildup for Aldo vs. McGregor was unprecedented. A world tour centered around the rivalry, with Aldo and McGregor traveling around the globe and building the heat between the two featherweight stars. But last week, word surfaced that Brazil’s Aldo suffered a rib injury in training. Doctors determined that the rib wasn’t broken, but the injury is apparently severe enough to force the longtime champion out of the bout.
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