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Conor McGregor on Jose Aldo: I had 'a hell of a lot more wrong with me than a bruised rib' and still fought

Esther Lin, Sportsfile

LAS VEGAS -- There have been rumors for weeks that Conor McGregor sustained some kind of knee injury ahead of his main event fight at UFC 189. Even though the event was over Saturday night and McGregor had beaten Chad Mendes to win the interim featherweight title, "The Notorious" still didn't want to address the specifics of his injury.

"I'm just gonna let that be in the past, because there's no point bringing anything up really in my eyes," McGregor said at the UFC 189 post-fight press conference. "Just know that I had a hell of a lot more wrong with me than a bruised rib and I still showed up. I prepared for this camp essentially in the physical therapist room. I had a lot to deal with this camp on top of all the media."

McGregor was supposed to face Jose Aldo in the UFC 189 headliner after a lengthy world tour and record amounts of promotional backing by the UFC. But Aldo pulled out of the fight two weeks ago with a rib injury. Aldo's doctors have said that the rib was broken, while the UFC has said that it was just a bruise and cartilage damage.

McGregor still ended up setting the UFC gate record in the United States with $7.2 million at UFC 189 and that was with Mendes alongside him in the main event. It could have even been bigger with Aldo. McGregor, though, didn't want to talk about the UFC featherweight champion.

"I'm gonna put Jose as a distant memory right now, because I don't think he deserves to be spoken about here," McGregor said. "He didn't show up. This was the event that we built. He should have made that walk. And respect to Chad for making that walk and showing up."

The obvious next fight is a title unification between Aldo and McGregor, which White said would be in Las Vegas, though the timing has not yet been decided. McGregor is not confident Aldo will make it to that bout, though.

"In my opinion, Jose is done," McGregor said. "If it comes back around, we'll discuss it then. But right now this is my night, this is Ireland's night, this is my team Straight Blast Gym's night, my coach John [Kavanagh], my family, everyone that's been with me, it's our night."

What upset McGregor the most about Aldo withdrawing is that he didn't say he consider his fans who spent money to travel from Brazil to Las Vegas for the show. McGregor said he could have decided not to fight since Aldo was out, but wanted to compete, because of the thousands of Irish fans who already had booked their plane tickets.

"When Jose pulled out and didn't mention nothing about the fans or nothing like that and then started supporting Chad and they were weird little buddies, that left a bad, bad taste in my mouth," McGregor said. "I couldn't do that. I showed up to fight. I respect the people that have sacrificed a lot of their money, their time to make this trip, to support the event. It just hit me all at the end of the fight. It just overwhelmed me the support and the passion from the fans. I am forever grateful."

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