Saturday 1 October 2016

Date set for Conor McGregor-Jose Aldo grudge match

JOE CALLAGHAN reports from Las Vegas

Published 12/07/2015 | 10:16

Conor McGregor's mouth-watering UFC featherweight unification superfight against Jose Aldo will be the most anticipated fight in the history of mixed martial arts - but fans may have to wait to see it.

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Fresh from the Dubliner's breathtaking knock-out of Chad Mendes at a rocking, raucous MGM Grand on Saturday night, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told US reporters that the meeting of the two featherwight champions, which will also surely be the most lucrative in the organisation's history, might not take place this year.

Fertitta said the fight would "probably" take place on January 2nd next year "but that's not set in stone. We have MGM reserved on January 2."

McGregor and Aldo was originally supposed to be the headline fight of UFC 189 before the Brazilian pulled out with a rib injury and opened the door for the no.1-ranked Chad Mendes to replace him. Mendes stepped in and dominated much of the fight in front a huge Irish crowd at the Grand Garden Arena.

But with seconds left in the second round McGregor worked his way out of trouble, off the canvas and countered in devastating fashion, flooring Mendes with a shuddering left hand from which he couldn't get up. It meant the title went to McGregor and with it a one-way ticket towards a date with Aldo.

Read more: Priceless! Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes reveal what the champ was saying during the fight

Read more: Video: Irish J1 students experience emotional rollercoaster during Conor McGregor win

After the grandest night of his remarkable mixed martial arts career, McGregor had no will or wish to talk about the man who was originally supposed to be opposite him.

"I don't think he deserves to be spoken about here. He didn't show up," said McGregor on a record-breaking night. "This was the event that we built, and he should have made that walk. I thank Chad for making that walk for showing up, but in my opinion Jose is done.

"If it comes around, we'll discuss it then, but right now this is my night. This is Ireland's night. SBG, my family, this is our night.

"When Jose pulled out and didn't mention nothing about the fans, and starts supporting Chad like weird little buddies, that left a bad bad taste in my mouth. I couldn't do that. I showed up. I respect the people who sacrificed their money and their time."

"I'm just going to leave that in the past," added McGregor when he was asked whether he had suffered pre-fight injuries like Aldo had. "I don't even see a point in bringing that up. Just know that I had a hell of a lot more wrong with me than a bruised rib, and I still showed up."

Chad Mendes was asked who he thought would come out on top in a fight between Aldo and McGregor and said: "Jose is a different beast, he’s a tough dude. It’s a fight I’m looking forward to watching."

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