It is official. The Ultimate Fighting Championships’ “Fight of the Year” between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and top contender Conor McGregor is off the table -- mainly due to Aldo’s rib injury. The development prompted the challenger to disparage the champion.
McGregor said UFC should strip Aldo of the featherweight belt and instead put it on the line for McGregor's July 11 bout against Chad Mendes in Las Vegas.
"He’s pulled out of contests time and time again," McGregor said about Aldo. "I mean, the medical reports state he is fit to fight, so there’s no more questions. If you’re fit to fight and you’re not going to fight, the belt rightfully should be stripped, and this (should be) for the regular featherweight belt.”
Aldo's withdrawal puts to a halt a week’s back and forth on whether the 28-year-old champion will be given the green light to hold his ninth consecutive title defense. While it was earlier reported that his rib was not fractured, the injury was extensive enough to prevent the champion from pushing ahead with the fight. Nevertheless, the UFC has placed an interim featherweight title on the line that can be contested by Mendes and McGregor.
If McGregor continues his ascent in the Octagon, it would set up a dramatic unification title bout between McGregor and Aldo at the end of the year or during the first quarter of 2016. Should Mendes pull off an upset on July 11 at the MGM Grand, McGregor would still have plenty of chances to bounce back -- including a UFC Fight Night in Dublin, Ireland, his hometown.
The UFC already announced that it will hold the Oct. 24 event at 3Arena in Dublin. Nevertheless, McGregor has already made his pitch to be included on the card, stating that, “you don’t have a show in my hometown and not have me on it.”