It was the fight that everybody wanted to see. A fight that could have made both fighters several millions of dollars. A fight, that was bound to break records. But a fight that wasn’t supposed to happen just yet: Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor.
Both featherweights were set to meet in the main event of UFC 189 on July 11, but, after an unprecedented multi-month promotional overkill, Aldo pulled out of the bout with a broken rib, for what he received lots of criticism, especially from brash loudmouth McGregor and UFC president Dana White. In Wednesday’s episode of UFC Tonight, the Brazilian pound-for-pound great defended his decision, which has been a tough one for him.
“Yes, it was very difficult,” Aldo says. “It was a very important fight. It was a very important decision, but I made the right decision.”
Aldo was ultimately replaced by Chad Mendes, who showed impressive wrestling and ground and pound, before crumbling to punches in the second round. Aldo watched the fight very closely of course, and was “not really” impressed: “It was a good fight to watch. It’s exactly what I expected.”
After Aldo pulled out, the UFC decided to put an interim title on the line for McGregor and Mendes, to sort of do the event justice after all the hype around it. With McGregor and Aldo both holding belts now, the question comes to mind who the real champion is. Not for Aldo, though: “Not really, it’s the interim belt. I’m the champion. I have the belt.”
Both featherweights are expected to face each other later this year to make good for their cancelled showdown and unify their titles. Aldo’s message to McGregor is plain and simple: “When I’m with him in the cage, I’m going to run him over. He’s not even going to see what went over him.”
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