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Jose Aldo is injured... so what happens now?

Here are the likely outcomes…

WITH A MEDICAL update on Jose Aldo’s rib injury expected later this evening, there are three potential outcomes after it emerged that the UFC featherweight champion’s title bout against Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on 11 July has been thrown into doubt.

Jose Aldo UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. The fight is rescheduled

At the moment it’s the worst-case scenario for the many Irish fans who have spent plenty of money to travel to Vegas to watch Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor on 11 July. It’s a fight everyone wants to see, but if it has to wait for another day, fans will hope that a new opponent steps in to face McGregor instead. The UFC has spent more money than ever before on promoting this bout so losing it is a nightmare situation for them, but a postponement has usually been their preferred option when it comes to big pay-per-view headliners — Jon Jones versus Daniel Cormier, for example.

Jose Aldo’s camp have said that he’ll be out of action until October if a fractured rib is confirmed, which would condemn McGregor to a nine month lay-off between bouts. A notoriously active fighter, the Dubliner’s last three contests all happened in the space of six months. And even then, we’re operating on the assumption that Aldo will actually be ready to compete by October. The UFC have a pay-per-view event scheduled for Houston on the third of that month. Would they bring such a big fight to Texas or keep it on ice until December, one of the traditional months on the calendar for big UFC bouts?

2. The fight goes ahead against a new opponent

If Jose Aldo is unavailable, this would be the favoured option for McGregor fans. Six months since his last appearance in the octagon, McGregor versus someone else is better than no McGregor at all. A tweet from the man himself this morning also seemed to suggest that whether Aldo is fit or not, the Irish star will still be fighting on 11 July. The news only broke last night but plenty of fighters have already expressed their interest in stepping in to replace Aldo. One of those is former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. He, along with number one contender Chad Mendes, are the front-runners to get the call.

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However, the UFC’s priority in this situation would be to draft in a high-calibre opponent while also ensuring that the risk of a defeat for McGregor is slight, in order to keep the Dubliner at the head of the queue for that much-anticipated title shot when Jose Aldo returns. Both Edgar and Mendes come from a wrestling background — one of the weaker areas of McGregor’s arsenal — but in terms of ranking, taking on either of these fighters is the only featherweight bout that really makes sense for the SBG man. Is that a risk the UFC are willing to take? Or is a fight against an opponent from outside the division — one that might not necessarily have an impact on McGregor’s standing in the 145lbs weight class — a realistic possibility? We might soon find out.

3. The fight goes ahead against Jose Aldo

With a fractured rib seemingly a certainty, the expectation is that Aldo’s withdrawal will be confirmed this evening. His coach, Andre Pederneiras, has said that Aldo wants to fight nevertheless but the decision could be taken out of his hands by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who are unlikely to pass Aldo fit to compete with such an injury.

Or if the conspiracy theorists are to be believed, it’s all just a publicity stunt and Aldo and McGregor are currently wrapped in cotton wool, ready to collide on 11 July as scheduled. Whichever the case may be, we could have our answer before the day is through.

‘Heartbroken’ Aldo still wants to fight but could be ruled out until October

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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