Jose Aldo, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion, has an initial OK to pursue his eighth title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas. Earlier reports said the Brazilian champion suffered a rib injury that could put the main event in peril.
ESPN was first to report that the 28-year-old fighter has only a bone bruise and not a fractured rib. Aldo’s rigid training in Rio de Janeiro resulted in the bone bruise in his rib cartilage, after he landed awkwardly during a sparring session.
"In light of recent reports regarding the status of UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, UFC has received official medical confirmation from several doctors that Aldo did not suffer a broken rib," the UFC said in an official statement. "Following a review of the scans, it has been determined that the champion suffered a bone bruise to his rib and cartilage injury during training.”
Nevertheless, there is still another hurdle to overcome: The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) still has to conduct an independent medical examination before the fight, to determine if Aldo is medically clear. NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar said it is the duty of the commission to ensure that fighters are healthy before they are permitted into the Octagon.
With more than a million potential pay-per-view buys on the line, the “Fight of the Year” between Aldo and McGregor has faced uncertainty ever since the start of the year, when McGregor began trash-talking Aldo, who was ringside during McGregor’s win over Dennis Siver in Boston. The animosity between the two fighters has been well documented and has attracted more coverage in recent months.
The UFC has already put contingencies in place if Aldo is declared unfit for the fight, tapping Chad Mendes as the backup fighter. If everything goes as planned, the Aldo-McGregor headliner would mark the first time in UFC history that the final fight of the night will showcase a title match of a lower weight class, despite having a higher class in the preliminaries between Rory Macdonald and Robbie Lawler.