And it's off - Jose Aldo out of UFC189, Conor McGregor to fight Chad Mendes
And the most-anticipated fight of the year is off…
Jose Aldo has withdrawn from his scheduled title defence against Conor McGregor.
The UFC featherweight champion has cited a rib injury as the reason he cannot face the Irishman in the ring at UFC189 in less than two weeks time.
Former two-time title contender Chad Mendes will instead step into Aldo’s place and fight McGregor for the interim featherweight title.
They can run. But they can't hide.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 1, 2015
Aldo’s news was announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter yesterday.
The seven-time defending champion suffered the injury while training last week in Brazil.
Following initial rumours of the fight being cancelled, Aldo attempted to recover in time to still compete on the pay-per-view card, but was forced to pull out.
“Aldo's rib is too painful and he will not be fighting," UFC president Dana White told the programme.
“Chad Mendes will fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt. It's (Aldo's) decision. 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."
McGregor reacted to the news in true McGregor fashion and commented: "If a man is scared for his life, we can not force him to step inside and fight me.
"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."
His previous advice was: “A little bit of ibuprofen and a little bit of toughen the f**k up”
McGregor went on to predict a four-minute knockout over Mendes.
The Irishman is 5-0 in the UFC with four knockouts.
Watch McGregor's reaction to the news below: