Conor McGregor: Jose Aldo is running and 'I don't think he'll be back'
Back in March when he was doing a worldwide media tour alongside featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor says he wondered whether the Brazilian actually would compete at UFC 189.
For McGregor, a showdown with Aldo was his chance to win the featherweight title in one of the most lucrative fights in UFC history. Then last week, reports from Brazil said Aldo suffered a rib injury that might force him out of the fight.
On Tuesday, Aldo officially withdrew and was replaced by Chad Mendes, and as much as McGregor wanted to be the man to take the title away from the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever known, he says he saw this coming.
"I've been contemplating it since long before the rib injury," McGregor told FOX Sports on Wednesday. "As soon as the fight was announced, I've been contemplating it. The eyes never lie, and every time I looked into that man's eyes, I saw fear, I saw glass. I anticipated that he would not show up, and when he got his opportunity to pull, he pulled. It's something I expected.
"I looked in his eyes and knew this mother----er doesn't want to be here. He doesn't want it the way I want it. I don't blame the man. I was going to f--king butcher him, rip him limb from limb. So I probably wouldn't want to face that either."
McGregor will now face Mendes in the new main event at UFC 189 with the interim title up for grabs. As much as McGregor desires to settle the score with Aldo at a future date, the outspoken Irish star isn't sure the Brazilian ever will come back.
"One-hundred percent if he mans up, we should most certainly get it on, but I don't know whether he will be back. Like I said, he's gone running, and I don't think he'll be back," McGregor said.
"It's the McGregor division now. He went running. It's on my call now. If he wants to come back with his tail between his legs, that's no problem. He can come back. We can do the stadium in Dublin, but it's on my call now."
With Aldo out likely until October at the earliest, McGregor and Mendes will battle for the interim UFC featherweight title July 11 in Las Vegas.
While it's likely the winner will then face Aldo later this year to unify the belts, McGregor believes he's already competing for the real title. McGregor says Aldo had every chance to fight, but when the opportunity came to pull out, he took it.
It's the fifth time Aldo has withdrawn from a title fight. According to McGregor, that's no champion.
"He has p--sied out time and time again. He's pulled out of contests time and time again," McGregor said. "The medical reports state he is fit to fight. So there's no more questions. You're fit to fight and you're not going to fight. The belt rightfully should be stripped, and this is for the real featherweight belt.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is the real world title that's on the line. If Jose is afraid and won't show up, well, then he's done. It's done with that now. This is for the real featherweight belt. I don't label this an interim belt one bit. This is the real UFC world title."
Aldo fired back at McGregor and provided a Brazilian outlet what he says are the x-rays of his broken rib.
"If you beat Chad Mendes, the only thing you'll have is a toy belt to show friends, drunk in the bars of his country, because that's what an interim title is for me: a toy," Aldo said. "The champion is me."