Conor McGregor & Chad Mendes: Jose Aldo Has Lost Right To Unify Titles In Brazil

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Heading into their short notice interim title fight at next week’s (Sat., July 11, 2015) UFC 189 from Las Vegas, Irish megastar Conor McGregor and longtime top contender Chad Mendes don’t seem to agree on very many things.

That is, except for one important topic.

No matter who wins the interim strap at UFC 189, neither fighter is willing to face oft injured but dominant champion Jose Aldo in his native Brazil. News came on Tuesday (June 30, 2015) that Aldo pulled out of his awaited scrap with McGregor due to a broken rib, necessitating the creation of an interim belt after the champion’s fifth injury withdrawal.

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Speaking up during a media conference call this week, McGregor said that Aldo had his chance and pulled out, so it was now no longer his division. Even though Aldo never had a choice to face ‘Notorious’ in Brazil, McGregor said ‘Junior’ would have to face him in a soccer stadium in Brazil to unify the belts once he wins:

“It’s the McGregor division now. He went running, it’s my call now. So if he wants to come back with his tail between his legs, that’s no problem. He can come back and we can do the stadium in Dublin. But it’s my call now.”

Mendes, who has already fought and lost to Aldo twice in Brazil, agreed in his own sense. He demanded a bout on his home turf were he to win the interim belt:

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“I agree,” Mendes said. “I fought the guy twice in Brazil now. If I get that belt, I am fighting that dude in the states this time.”

With that understandably established, the UFC may choose to agree with the fighters given the increasingly difficult time they’ve had with Aldo, who’s becoming well known for complaining about his pay while simultaneously pulling out of fights and drawing the worst pay-per-view numbers on average.

The only featherweight champ the UFC has ever known, it’s difficult to see Aldo heading down this path of criticism given that he is undoubtedly one of the best fighters to ever step into a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage. But he’s seemingly held himself back by not appealing to broad enough of an audience.

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Will he ever be the star he could be?

Photo Credit: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports