The last week must have been tough on Conor McGregor, despite what he has been telling the public and the media. This morning however, he will finally have some closure.
The UFC announced in the early hours of this morning, that Jose Aldo had officially pulled out of the title bout, scheduled for July 11th in Las Vegas.
The identity of the man stepping in to take the champion’s place is of course no mystery. Chad Mendes has been on standby ever since the news broke, that Aldo had picked up a rib injury in sparring. Dana White had made public that should Aldo be unable to compete, Mendes would be his replacement.
There had been some reports circulating on Monday, that Aldo would decide after training yesterday whether he was in condition to fight. Mma-manifesto.com stated, that Jonas Bilharinho was telling a bleak story from inside the camp. According to his sparring partner, the champion was even struggling with pain when walking. The reports obviously had merit.
It is far from an ideal situation for a fighter stepping in to a high level contest to have his opponent pull out so close to show time. This announcement, coming when it does, at least removes the uncertainty and the possibility that it could continue right up until the day before the event.
It will be a real challenge for Conor, who will face an entirely different set of skills than he would have against the Brazilian. His camp however, have always said that they don’t train for specific opponents. In his camp diary on the42.ie McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh hammered this home. “There is no opponent” has always been the philosophy of the gym, said Kavanagh.
That philosophy may turn out to be Conor McGregor’s saving grace come UFC 189.