David Becker Conor McGregor is still just one win away from getting his hands on one of these.
# the science bit
Explainer: How McGregor can become a UFC champ without actually beating the champ
The Dubliner is now chasing the interim featherweight title.

JOSE ALDO IS no longer his opponent on 11 July, but Conor McGregor will still leave Las Vegas with a UFC belt if he’s victorious in the main event at UFC 189.

Due to an injury to Aldo, Chad Mendes has stepped in to fight McGregor instead. Aldo will remain the UFC featherweight champion, however, so why will the winner of McGregor versus Mendes receive a belt too?

Well, the UFC have decided to make the UFC 189 headliner an interim title bout. After that, the featherweight division will have two champions: Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor/Chad Mendes.

When Aldo returns from injury, he will then fight the interim champion in what’s known as a unification bout. The winner will become the undisputed champion and the 145lbs division will then return to having just one title-holder.

This happened as recently as last month in the UFC’s heavyweight division. While champion Cain Velasquez was out injured, Fabricio Werdum became the interim champion. The pair then fought at UFC 188 and Werdum was victorious — therefore being crowned the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, while Velasquez returned to being one of the contenders in the chasing pack.

Velasquez had been sidelined for a total of 20 months, but the UFC’s patience with injured champions does eventually run out, as Dominick Cruz discovered in February 2014.

He was stripped of his bantamweight title after a series of injuries prevented him from competing for almost three years, with the undisputed title then being passed down to interim champion Renan Barao.

It’s unlikely to come to that with Jose Aldo, however. The early indications are that the Brazilian will be back in action in the autumn, so a fight against the winner of Mendes versus McGregor is expected to happen late this year.

In summary, a win over Chad Mendes would see Conor McGregor become the champion until Jose Aldo is ready to fight again. But to be regarded as the undisputed champion, the Irishman will still need to get through Aldo.

Having fought as recently as October, many believe Aldo is being unfairly treated by the UFC in their decision to put an interim title on the line next week in Vegas. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments section.

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