Many were surprised to hear reports that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo would be pulled out of his title defense against Chad Mendes at UFC 133 because of an injury suffered in training camp Monday afternoon. None more so than the champ himself.
While it is true that Aldo will have to pull out of the scheduled bout against Mendes, reports of training camp injury appear to be unfounded. The young fighter took to Twitter late Monday night to explain the news. (Translation via MMA Mania):
"Let me be clear I'm not hurt again, I'm not hurt. I picked up a suspension (from) the Canadian commission and therefore should only return to training (after) 30 days this month. So once again, I'm not injured."
He further elaborated on the point Tuesday afternoon. (via Sherdog.com):
"I had a problem with my cervical vertebrae in December that was making my arm numb."
"I contacted a doctor and he diagnosed it a nerve entrapment, and recommended for me not to fight and to do physical therapy. I did that and got much better. I had this during the camp for the [Mark] Hominick fight, but with less intensity."
The morning after his first title defense -- a five-round struggle which resulted in a unanimous decision over Hominick on April 30 -- Aldo notified his trainer, Nova Uniao head Andre Pederneiras, of numbness in his arm.
"He said when I arrived in Brazil I would need to see the doctor again. When I was scheduling it, already in Brazil, my manager, Ed Soares, said I was going to Los Angeles and they diagnosed that entrapment again," explained Aldo. "The doctor recommended I go through physical therapy for six weeks before training again, and that's what I'm doing now. That's why I won't fight in August."
So with Aldo out of UFC 133, where does that leave his expected opponent, Chad Mendes?
The UFC announced Tuesday afternoon that the undefeated Team Alpha Male prospect will eschew his shot at waiting for the featherweight title, instead choosing to fight submission ace Rani Yahya on the August card. While Yahya certainly does not present the same fireworks or name brand appeal as Aldo, the match still promises to be a compelling supplement to UFC 133's scheduled main event featuring Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans.