McGregor fight gets green light - but new opponent on stand-by
The UFC have confirmed that Conor McGregor's world title fight against champion Jose Aldo will go ahead as planned.
The highly-anticipated bout, which is scheduled for July 11 in Las Vegas, was temporarily in jeopardy after news emerged from Aldo's native Brazil on Tuesday that he had sustained a cracked rib during training.
Initially, the UFC offered no comment on the matter, and a frenzy of panic and speculation quickly spread on social media. However, the promotion was able to allay fears overnight by confirming that scans had shown the champion's injuries to be less severe than first thought.
The update will have been music to the ears of the hordes of Irish fans expected to travel to Las Vegas to watch McGregor and Aldo square off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The UFC, too, will have breathed a sigh of relief, given the significant investments they have made in promoting a match-up that, in terms of scope and potential revenues, will be the biggest in featherweight history.
Aside from an unprecedented week-long world media tour, which concluded in Dublin on March 31, the company have also spent large sums on lavish productions in the build-up to the contest.
Prudently, they have placed No 1 contender Chad Mendes on standby, if indeed Aldo is ultimately unable to compete. Mendes, who has twice failed in attempts to usurp Aldo, has verbally sparred with McGregor on frequent occasion so, if he is called upon, there will be little lost by way of hostility.
Mendes is also precisely the type of fighter that critics of McGregor claim he would struggle against.
Mendes was a decorated collegiate wrestler before turning to mixed martial arts, and would represent an unknown quantity for McGregor considering he is yet to navigate a grappler of such repute.
In reality, though, the best possible outcome for all involved would be for Aldo to make a full recovery over the next fortnight. The champion has gone undefeated for more than a decade and remains the only featherweight champion in UFC history, with seven successful title defences to his name.
Moreover, throughout the aforementioned press tour, McGregor consistently vexed the Brazilian to the point of distraction with his inimitable brand of psychological warfare. Subsequently, the animosity that now exists between the two is genuinely visceral.