On July 11, mouthy-but-damn-good fighter Conor McGregor was supposed to take on featherweight title holder Jose Aldo in UFC 189. Then, Aldo sustained a broken rib in training and had to pull out, putting a damper on what was one of the most hotly-anticipated MMA fights in some time. Because so many people had already made pay-per-view buys and bought tickets, the show had to go on, and Chad Mendes was the poor sap who had to take the ring with little time to prepare. He got wrecked, and because UFC 189 was supposed to be a title fight, McGregor was awarded an “interim” title belt, which is nice for him, we guess.
But we all know that if you haven’t beaten the champ, you shouldn’t have a championship belt, and Joe Rogan agrees (and uses strong words to do so). Rogan starts talking about McGregor’s belt a little after the 1:02 mark of his “Fight Companion” podcast:
And here’s the money bit, transcribed for you to read if you don’t like scrubbing through video:
“Let’s be honest. McGregor has an illegitimate belt. It’s a made up belt. We call it the ‘interim’ belt, but Aldo defended his title a year ago. Stripping a guy because he doesn’t— because he can’t get through a camp without getting injured is a part of MMA. It’s always been a part of MMA. But, because of the marketing, because of the hype behind it, because of the HUGE event, the enormity, the economics of the event, they decide to make [McGregor vs. Mendes] an interim fight. He’s got a title. Aldo’s got a title. They both have titles. So they’re fighting for the undisputed title.”
If we know one thing about McGregor, it’s that he is an MMA fighter. If we know two things, the second thing is that he loves to trash talk. So, even though Rogan’s statement isn’t exactly out of left field, we should be expecting a response any day now.
And that second chance at an Aldo-McGregor title fight? It’s happening in Vegas in December, when we can all put this “interim title” nonsense to bed.