'Off camera he changes completely' - Jose Aldo makes a startling revelation about his relationship with Conor McGregor
Published 08/09/2016 | 22:58
Anyone who monitored the vitriolic interactions between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo throughout 2015 will be acutely aware that the outcome of their fight took far longer than 13 seconds to decide.
From the moment McGregor was dragged off Dennis Siver in January of last year in Boston, he embarked on a systematic psychological assault of the Brazilian.
Indeed, on the night in question, he vaulted over the octagon to confront the then UFC featherweight champion, who was sitting cage side with his wife.
The pair then undertook a multi-continental press tour over the course of an intense week, during which McGregor goaded Aldo to the point of distraction whenever the opportunity presented itself.
With cameras monitoring almost their every move, there was many an occasion when it looked as though one of the greatest fighters in history would snap.
McGregor utilised social media, every medium of broadcast and more to chip away at his foe’s psyche. For the Dubliner, Aldo was merely a pretender who had been keeping his throne warm.
When their initial bout, scheduled for UFC 189, was cancelled due to Aldo suffering a rib injury, McGregor went on the offensive again.
He then defeated late replacement Chad Mendes inside two rounds to capture the interim crown, and the gravity of his rivalry with Aldo grew exponentially.
When they finally did meet, at UFC 194 last December, it was clear from the second they entered the octagon that Aldo had already lost. McGregor’s pinpoint left hook simply put him out of his misery.
Subsequently, Aldo, who is now the interim featherweight champion after defeating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, derided McGregor as frequently as possible – the change in demeanour didn’t suit him.
His revelling in McGregor’s defeat at the hands of Nate Diaz last March did not feel befitting of a competitor of his stature.
However, speaking recently on Brazilian TV, Aldo revealed that the rancour between him and the Crumlin native was not as pronounced as perceived.
"It's a friendly relationship. I don't have a problem with him trying to promote himself. If we take a look at it money-wise, it was pretty good. I think there should be more fighters like him at featherweight. I'm not his friend, though. He can go his way and I can go mine."
Often, he found McGregor to be wholly introspective but, as soon as an audience materialised, the dynamic shifted. He recalled one friendly encounter in particular.
“One day we were hanging out and he said he was going to get the coffee and I said I wanted mine with sugar and he said something like 'nice'. Most of the times we met, there was always someone recording us, though, so he had to keep his persona up. With no cameras, he changes completely."
After gaining his revenge against Diaz last month, McGregor has been told by the UFC that he must face Aldo next or forego his crown, though the likelihood is that the SBG man will take on lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
A rematch between pair would certainly have no trouble gaining traction.