The question, if Jose Aldo should or shouldn't go on with his fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 with his injured rib, is splitting fans into two opposing camps. While the first half just wants to see the fight after all the hype leading up to it, the other half doubts that an unhealthy Aldo will present much of a challenge for a McGregor on top of his game and would rather wait for him to heal up.
The UFC featherweight champion injured his rib during a sparring session last week. First reports, that indicated the rib was broken, where later contradicted by UFC medicals, who diagnosed a bruise. Fractured or not, a hurting rib will be a huge handicap for Aldo in arguably the biggest fight of his career.
UFC veteran turned TV commentator Brian Stann believes the Brazilian champion will take on the challenge nevertheless, because the financial compensation will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for him -- even if he loses.
"I think he makes the walk based on the financial impact alone," Stann told MMA Fighting. "Here's the positive things for Jose Aldo going into this fight: This fight is going to make him an awful lot of money -- win, lose or draw. He's the only featherweight champion in history. I think he merits, no matter what, an immediate rematch if he were to lose this fight. For him, he takes the fight, there's already a built-in thing where if the performance is terrible people are going to point to the ribs first. And there's great build-up for a rematch and he'll get another great payday."
If the Nevada Athletic Commission will let him fight, that is. An NAC official already stated, that the commission is aware of Aldo's injury and will take a very close look at his rib before they will make their decision. By now, new medical reports have surfaced, indicating that Aldo's rib is indeed broken, after all. Should this be the case, the NAC will never let him fight. Chael Sonnen, an expert in hyped-up money fights, explained, that the team member that tattletaled Aldo's injury to the media might have cost his training partner a multi-million dollar payday. Stann agrees:
"This is a lesson for fighters, training camps, coaches, managers: You gotta keep your mouth shut," Stann said. "Someone really let him down in this fight. I've seen this happen before, never in such a high-profile fight. I don't know who it was. It's not indicative of the type of environment that Nova Uniao provides. It could happen anywhere, but someone really let him down that should have kept their mouth shut."
But should Aldo be allowed to go on and fight, Stann believes, he will have what it takes to push through and beat McGregor, because his rough upbringing in the streets of Manaus and Rio de Janeiro must have taught him more than one lesson in toughness. And should he manage to fight -- and beat -- the Irishman this Saturday, it will cement his status as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
"He came into this supposing that he lost in life. And that matters. Backgrounds like that allow fighters to dig into the depths of themselves and overcome certain things in the Octagon," Stann said. "If he wins, coupled with this, you're talking about the legacy of a guy who's already gotten an incredible one."
Aldo is scheduled to fight McGregor at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas, NV.