If you took a break from the internet and any type of mass communication yesterday, then you may be just learning now that Jose Aldo will not fight Conor McGregor at UFC 189.
Yes, on Tuesday, the UFC confirmed that the injured featherweight champ will not face his rival on July 11th, and that Chad Mendes will battle McGregor for the interim title. It was the news most people didn’t want to hear, but many were expecting to arrive.
Well, interestingly enough, prior to the announcement, Mendes appeared on “The MMA Hour”. During the segment, the contender relayed that he’s been taking his training very seriously, since the UFC put him on standby duty last week.
The Team Alpha Male fighter also talked about the challenge McGregor now has, in terms of facing an opponent who has a different skill set than Aldo. Here is some of what the accomplished wrestler had to say (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“[McGregor] just went through an entire training camp for a guy that’s a Muay Thai fighter, and now he’s facing a guy that’s going to put him on his back,” Mendes said. “It definitely changes the whole game plan but, I just heard his coach [John Kavanagh] talking. This is a fight that a lot of people from Ireland are coming to see, taking out big loans and stuff. So it would be pretty messed up on his part to have to back out now with all his friends and family coming. There’s a lot of pressure on that, a lot riding on him to keep that fight going. So I don’t think he has a choice.”
Of course, due to the backstory tied to Aldo-McGregor, most people are very disappointed that fight isn’t happening July 11th. But, from a match-up perspective, there is certainly no shortage of folks who believe an explosive wrestler like Mendes, could make for a stiffer test.
We haven’t seen much of McGregor’s wrestling or ground game since he’s arrived in the UFC, and it sounds like Mendes intends to change all that.
UFC 189 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the co-headliner, welterweight champ Robbie Lawler will take on Rory MacDonald.