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Jose Aldo to train Tuesday, decide if he can fight Conor McGregor at UFC 189

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor is still on for July 11 at UFC 189, but the final decision might come on Tuesday.

The UFC featherweight champion injured his rib during training last week, and medical reports are conflicting. Brazilian doctors believe Aldo has broken ribs, while American doctors say his ribs are bruised. The UFC announced that the fight is still on, but Chad Mendes is the ‘plan B’ for the interim title in case Aldo can’t compete.

According to Aldo’s training partner Jonas Bilharinho, a two-division Jungle Fight champion who was brought in from Team Nogueira to mimic "The Notorious" in training, Aldo will train for the first time since the injury Tuesday to evaluate his condition.

"I think he will probably fight. And I hope so," Bilharinho said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "I will be with him on Tuesday to see what he’s capable of doing during training or not, but my opinion right now is that he’s going to fight. I’m going to be optimistic about it because Aldo wants this fight so bad. I think this fight will probably happen."

Bilharinho saw Aldo for the last time on Thursday, and reveals that Aldo couldn’t walk normally due to the rib injury.

"He was walking slowly to not feel the pain on the ribs," he said. "It’s disturbing. You can’t punch, you can’t move, you can’t breathe, but the pain was still fresh. I don’t know right now. It’s probably better. If the pain got worse, he will probably don’t fight. But I think the fight is going to happen. I don’t think it will get any worse.

"It’s a little bit painful but there are some kinds of pain that we can hold during fights and there are some kinds of pain that we can’t hold. I hope that it’s one of the ones that we can hold. We will test him on Tuesday. Tuesday is the big day."

Despite the injury, Bilharinho hopes Aldo is healthy enough to take the fight and defend the UFC title in Las Vegas.

"He’s very strong mentally. Once he decides to fight, the pain won’t be a problem," he said. "I know he can beat Conor. He totally can beat Conor.

"Conor never fought someone like Aldo. Conor keeps saying ‘oh, he never fought someone like me’. Okay, but neither did him fight someone like Aldo. And he’s way more different than people who Conor fought. Aldo is so much better. I really want to see this fight. If he thinks he can fight, he should fight."

McGregor guaranteed he wouldn’t target Aldo’s injured ribs at UFC 189, but Bilharinho doesn’t believe "The Notorious".

"Conor said he’s going for the chin. I don’t know. When Aldo’s punches start raining on Conor, I don’t know what he will decide," he said. "But for now it’s OK. Conor is saying he’s aiming for the chin, (but) I don’t believe him [laughs]."


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