No way, Jose! Yes way, Chad… On Tuesday’s edition of ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” UFC president Dana White announced the rib injury reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo (pictured) recently suffered in training will in fact force him out of his highly-anticipated UFC 189 showdown against Conor McGregor.
McGregor, who was sitting along side White during the show, will now face Chad Mendes for the vacant interim featherweight title in the July 11 event.
“Andre Pederneiras, [Aldo’s] coach, called and basically said that Aldo’s rib is too painful and he will not be fighting,” White said. “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 #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.”
As unfortunate as this news is, the UFC already planted the seed that this could happen last Wednesday. White dubbed Mendes their “contingency plan” in case Aldo couldn’t answer the bell.
While the UFC initially claimed Aldo would be good to go for the scrap, there were conflicting test results on Aldo’s rib that left the door open for him to pull out. The Brazilian doctor he originally visited said it was indeed broken, while the American physician he saw days later said it was merely a bone bruise to his rib and cartilage injury.
White didn’t confirm which doctor was correct, only that Aldo is in too much pain to keep his appointment with McGregor.
No word on how long Aldo will be forced to ride the pine.
Although Aldo is the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever known, many believe Mendes is a far worse matchup for McGregor. In fact, the Gambling Gods agree.
McGregor (-275) went from being a slight favorite over Aldo (+185) to being an early underdog against Mendes (-160).
White previously claimed UFC 189 was trending towards over one million pay-per-view buys. While there is legitimate beef between McGregor and Mendes, this main event won’t garner anywhere near that number.
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada hosts the festivities.
Here is UFC 189’s revised lineup:
Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Cody Pfister
Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Henry Briones vs. Cody Garbrandt
Mike Swick vs. Alex Garcia
Cathal Pendred vs. John Howard
Matt Brown vs. Tim Means
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida
Brandon Thatch vs. Gunnar Nelson
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler (UFC welterweight champion)
Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes (for UFC featherweight interim title)