Aldo ruled out, Mendes steps in

Aldo's participation has been doubt since he suffered bruised ribs and cartilage damage after being kicked while sparing last week. Having been cleared of a broken rib it was thought that Aldo may recover in time to make the July 11 fight, but this is not the case.

Speaking on SportsCentre, UFC chairman Dana White confirmed that the 28-year-old Aldo had been forced to pull out of the fight.

“Andre Pederneiras, his coach, called and basically said that Aldo’s rib is too painful and he will not be fighting,” White said. 

“So Chad Mendes now will fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt. Jose Aldo’s pulled out of five title fights. Conor’s ready to go. The No. 1 guy in the world, Chad Mendes, is ready to go. So it makes sense. They’ll fight for the interim title and whenever Jose Aldo is ready then that fight can happen to unify (the belts)."

Reacting to the news, McGregor said that he couldn't force Aldo to fight, but doubted the extent of his injuries.

"If a man is scared for his life, we can not force him to step inside and fight me," McGregor said. "Doctors have cleared him to fight – it's a bruise – but he still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we will contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt."

Mendes was placed on standby following Aldo's injury, and will have less than two weeks to prepare for the fight. However, the 30-year-old is confident that he will be ready.

"This is a fighter I've watched since he got in the UFC and a fighter I knew I would be facing very soon," Mendes told FOX Sports. "So I've watched all of his fights, I've watched past fights before the UFC. I feel like he has a lot of holes in his game and I feel like my strengths fit right into that.

"This will be a fun night for me getting in there and getting to beat the crap out of Conor, getting a belt and getting paid. It's going to be fun. There's no doubt taking this fight on short notice. This is a guy I know I can beat."

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