Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo, will not defend his 145-pound title against Conor McGregor at UFC 189, which takes place next weekend (Sat., July 11, 2015) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ESPN broke the awful -- albeit predictable -- news:
As a result, Chad Mendes -- who was put on standby last week when speculation began to swirl that the Brazilian suffered a significant rib injury in training -- will now fight McGregor in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event for the division's interim crown.
UFC.com issued the following statement:
"UFC 189 has a new main event, as featherweight champion Jose Aldo has withdrawn from his July 11 title defense against Conor McGregor due to an injured rib. 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."
From the outset, UFC attempted to put a positive spin on the sad situation once reports began to surface that Aldo would not be ready for the much-anticipated showdown. But, conflicting reports out of South America painted a much different picture, even though Aldo appeared eager to compete despite the disadvantage.
That's no longer the case. And the mystery is now over, several days before we expected to get final word.
Even though UFC risks a lot with a Mendes win, considering promotion of Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor broke the bank, keeping its Irish superstar in the line up can reap tremendous rewards. Not only is Mendes a top-ranked opponent -- one who boasts a skill set that many believe could give McGregor trouble -- but it gives UFC the opportunity to cash in on its investment.
McGregor will draw fans to UFC 189. If he's successful, it generates even more heat for the Aldo showdown -- McGregor won't have to steal Aldo's belt. If he falls, UFC has a Mendes rematch in its back pocket, as well as the Aldo grudge match.