Next Saturday night’s UFC 189 was supposed to be one of, if not the biggest UFC pay-per-view of the year. But unfortunately, it seems that it’s going to take a major hit, as UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo has pulled out of his title defense against Conor McGregor due to a rib injury that he suffered last week.
UFC President Dana White appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter to break the news, and he didn’t seem too pleased with Aldo’s decision to sit this one out due to the fact that the UFC has spent so many promotional dollars on the McGregor vs. Aldo match-up.
“Andre Pederneiras, [Jose Aldo’s] coach called and basically said that Aldo’s rib is too painful, and he will not be fighting. 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’s challenger — Conor McGregor — was sitting alongside the UFC President during the segment and he was asked to share his thoughts on Aldo pulling out of the fight, and as always, McGregor wasn’t lost for words, saying that Aldo was scared, mentally defeated, and was looking for a way out, and he finally found one.
“If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and face me. 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.”
” 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.”
As White mentioned, McGregor will now be taking on Chad “Money” Mendes for the interim championship. Originally, McGregor predicted that he would knock out Jose Aldo is four minutes or less, and when asked his prediction for his fight with his new opponent, he gave the same answer, saying that he’s going to “rip his head off” in four minutes.
[Image via Buda Mendes / Getty Images]