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Right as anticipation for the UFC 189 summer pay-per-view blockbuster was reaching its peak, the rug was snatched out from featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
On the evening of June 30th, just after the UFC and No. 1 contender Conor McGregor touched down in NYC to model the new Reebok-produced Fight Kit apparel, UFC president Dana White announced that the Brazilian striker would be unable to compete July 11th due to a rib injury.
“Aldo’s rib is too painful and he will not be fighting,” White told ESPN yesterday. “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.”
For months, Aldo and his brash Irish title challenger McGregor traded insults and have nearly came to blows while touring around the world with each other. Now, the combat between the two fiery featherweights will have to wait. As for the “Notorius’” new opponent, Mendes, it means a third opportunity to challenge for the 145-pound crown after previously being bested in one of the most entertaining five-round bouts in UFC history last October.