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No way Jose! Conor McGregor has a new opponent as Aldo pulls out of UFC 189

‘The Notorious’ will now face Chad Mendes on 11 July.

McGregor will now fight for the interim featherweight title.
McGregor will now fight for the interim featherweight title.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND’S CONOR MCGREGOR will fight Chad Mendes at UFC 189 and not featherweight champion Jose Aldo, after the Brazilian officially pulled out of the bout with a rib injury in the early hours of this morning.

Mendes, who had been on standby since news of Aldo’s injury broke, will now take on McGregor for the interim 145-pound crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, 11 July.

Despite now being an interim title bout, McGregor versus Mendes will still headline the card ahead of the welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald, which stays in the co-main slot.

There had been doubts about Jose Aldo’s participation since he sustained the injury during a sparring session in Rio de Janeiro eight days ago, but his withdrawal was finally confirmed by the UFC overnight.

Mendes, a two-time NCAA Division One All-American wrestler, will provide a much different test for McGregor at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 10 days’ time.

Although Jose Aldo is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, the defending champion is known predominantly as a Muay Thai fighter. Taking on Mendes will finally provide McGregor with the opportunity to silence the doubts over his grappling ability.

The news is sure to disappoint the many Irish fans who were travelling to Vegas in the hope of seeing the Irishman dethrone Aldo, but there’s still a UFC belt on the line in what should be an intriguing contest, as Conor McGregor continues to prepare for the toughest test of his career.

The Dubliner took to Twitter earlier on to give his reaction and didn’t seem too put out by the change of opponent.

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Paul Dollery

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