Jose Aldo has pulled out his his title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 due to a rib injury, UFC president Dana White announced on SportsCenter on Tuesday.
Chad Mendes will now fight McGregor in place of Aldo. The fight is scheduled for July 11 in Las Vegas.
According to ESPN, Aldo sustained the injury while training in Rio de Janeiro last week.
“It's (Aldo's) decision,” White said. “I don't feel great about it. We've spent a lot of money promoting this fight and a lot of people were excited. It's definitely disappointing.”
UFC released a statement last week saying Aldo, the UFC featherweight champion, sustained a bone bruise to his rib and cartilage injury during training. At the time, UFC said Aldo had “expressed that he has every intention of facing Conor McGregor at UFC 189.”
McGregor told ESPN that Aldo has been cleared by doctors.
“If a man is scared for his life, we can not force him to step inside and fight me,” McGregor said. “Doctors have cleared him to fight—it's a bruise—but he still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we will contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt.”
- Molly Geary