Conor McGregor to Jose Aldo: ‘Toughen up’

'Come at me, Jose.'

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Amid the continuing controversy and uncertainty regarding featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s health and ability to fight next month against Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 189, the challenger spoke up and spoke out to FOX Sports. "There’s a lot on the line," he said in a televised interview Saturday night.

"A lot of money, a lot of pride. There should be no reason to pull out of this contest. But if he does, that’s on him and I cannot force another individual to step in there. If I ask myself truly, ‘Would I like to step in there and face me,’ I’d probably go running, too. If it’s little mini Mendes, we’ll smoke him, too."

Former two-time title challenger Chad Mendes is, of course, the UFC’s backup plan, training and standing in the wings to replace Aldo at UFC 189 should the champ not be fit to fight. McGregor doesn’t care whom he fights, but with all the buildup between himself and the Brazilian, the Irishman certainly wants to face the UFC’s longest-reigning world champion.

"Just toughen up and show up," McGregor told Aldo.

McGregor — no stranger himself to fighting injured — wants Aldo to do it once more. McGregor challenged the champ as only he could, in hopes of goading him into ignoring his health and stepping into the cage.

"Many people have stepped inside the Octagon with little, itty-bitty bruises. We all have knocks and bruises. Dust it off and step up. Step up and fight like a man. Fight like the champion you should be."

This time, McGregor’s taunts didn’t come with the volume turned up. He was subdued but intense.

The "Notorious" challenger has moved his camp and his life to America and Las Vegas to prepare for Aldo and UFC 189 and would not take kindly to having the script changed up, so close to the fight.