When reigning UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled out of his scheduled UFC 189 (July 11, 2015) mega fight against the brash, and outspoken phenom in Conor McGregor, McGregor quickly stated that the champion was running and that he was scared.
Well, Aldo won’t be able to run anymore if that is truly the case, as McGregor quieted the doubters last night, starching late-replacement Chad Mendes in the second round to become the interim featherweight champion, making a unification bout with Aldo a necessity.
Despite UFC 189 being one of the biggest events in the promotion’s history, it’s widely thought that Aldo vs. McGregor will be even bigger, and a date for that fight has not yet been decided on. Despite the fact that the UFC is heading back to Dublin, Ireland in October, a place McGregor would obviously like to meet Aldo, UFC president Dana White has said that the fight will most likely be in Las Vegas.
As for a time table, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta spoke up to ESPN.com, saying that Aldo is chomping at the bit to fight as soon as possible, but time is needed to promote the fight. Fertitta said that a January 2, 2015 event at the MGM Grand may work:
“We’ve been in contact with [Aldo] and he’s chomping at the bit,” Fertitta said. “He wants to fight, obviously, as soon as possible. We need sufficient time to promote the event. Conor just had a tough fight; he’ll need some time off.
“I’m thinking probably January 2, but that’s not set in stone. We have a date at the MGM on January 2.”
The UFC CEO also said December could be a possibility, as the UFC is planning a show on December 5, 2015 which was going to be for New York if the sport was legalized there, which it was not, meaning that that event will either head to Vegas or possibly Canada.
The “Notorious” one’s manager, Audie Attar, also spoke up on the topic saying that a December or January fight would work well, as it would give Aldo enough time to heal so there is no excuses come fight night:
“Obviously, we would have preferred it to be tonight, but injuries happen,” Attar said. “It’s part of the sport. I would love to see it happen before the end of the year, December, or in January at some point. That makes sense in terms of giving Aldo time to recover and a full training camp so there’s no excuses.”
As for Ireland, White has stated that if McGregor indeed beats Aldo, then the Irishman’s first defense would be a rematch against Aldo at Croke Park, an 80,000 seat outdoor stadium in Dublin. There are many obstacles to doing a fight here, but Fertitta said that it will happen with the right fight, although it can’t happen in the winter:
“This fight needs to happen before next summer and I don’t think you can do a fight outdoors in Ireland in January; that doesn’t work,” Fertitta said. “If we have the right fight and it makes sense, we’d do it at Croke Park and it would be an afternoon pay-per-view back here in the U.S.”
We surely have a gigantic fight on our hands when the champion returns to full health. Who are you picking, and did your pick change after seeing McGregor meet Mendes?