It's been revealed that Jose Aldo will not be the man to step in and take Rafael dos Anjos' place opposite Conor McGregor at UFC 196 on March 5 after his coach asserted the fighter isn't in any shape to take a rematch.
Aldo's coach and manager, Andre Pederneiras, spoke to Brazilian outlet Combate after MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported on Tuesday that dos Anjos had broken his foot last Friday, just 15 days prior to his scheduled meeting against The Notorious.
Pederneiras said, per Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting: "Dana [White] called me, telling what happened and asking if Aldo was in shape to fight. I said he wasn’t and that there wasn’t enough time, and unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to fight next week."
It was, of course, Aldo who McGregor defeated at UFC 194, stopping the former featherweight champion in 13 seconds. According to Cruz, Scarface would only return to the Octagon for a title fight, and a rematch with McGregor is reportedly on his agenda for the future.
As far as replacements go, the UFC could do a lot worse than a rematch between Aldo and McGregor, a fixture some feel still has questions unanswered following their first bout.
Earlier on Tuesday, Fox Sports commentator Jon Anik spoke of his interest at seeing a second fight between the pair, one which would hopefully last more than 13 seconds:
Jose Aldo doesn't strike me as the short-notice type but a rematch b/w McGregor and Aldo 11 days from now certainly piques my interest.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) February 23, 2016
There was a sense of deja vu involving McGregor when the news surfaced about dos Anjos' withdrawal. The Irishman was scheduled to take on Aldo at UFC 189 in July, but only 12 days prior to their scheduled bout, Aldo pulled out because of a broken rib. This time it was Aldo's Brazilian compatriot bowing out a similar time from the date.
Dos Anjos' exit from the card marks the fourth time in McGregor's eight UFC fights that he's faced a different opponent than the one originally scheduled, provided he still fights at UFC 196.
True to style, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was quick to register his interest in taking dos Anjos' place in the fight, according to FoxSports.com's Damon Martin, and his manager, Josh Jones, has already contacted the UFC.
The UFC's options regarding who to elect as a dos Anjos replacement are limited, especially with featherweight contender Frankie Edgar currently injured—the man who would appear next most likely to take the spot.
Former UFC fighter and Irish compatriot Cathal Pendred ran through some of the other likely contenders to step up to the plate, with Nate Diaz and Cerrone the most viable candidates:
With dos Anjos out, the only guys I could see taking that fight on 11 days notice are Nate Diaz or Cerrone.— Cathal Pendred (@Pendred) February 23, 2016
Probably have to be at 170 too.
We may one day see McGregor and Aldo do battle once again, but the Brazilian may have to be prepared to take an opportunity such as this. As things stand, he isn't likely to top McGregor's wish list until Notorious feels he's had his fill of whatever other challenges lie on his horizon.
For now, McGregor and the mixed martial arts community as a whole waits to discover the identity of his UFC 196 opponent.