Sunday 25 February 2018

'He's too big' - Jose Aldo critical of 'lucky' Conor McGregor's growing influence within UFC

Jose Aldo claims the UFC are giving special treatment to Conor McGregor . Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Aldo claims the UFC are giving special treatment to Conor McGregor . Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Rooney

His sound bites might be few and far between but on those rare occasions he does speak, Jose Aldo is nothing if not forthright.

It’s been just short of a month since Conor McGregor brought a concussive conclusion to Aldo’s five year reign as featherweight champion at UFC 194 and, in the interim, there’s hardly been a peep out of the taciturn Brazilian.

However, when it was finally confirmed last night that McGregor would face lightweight kingpin Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 197 on March 5, Aldo evidently thought the time was apt to break his silence.

Of course, he may have still been holding on to the flimsy hope that the UFC would afford him the opportunity to avenge his first loss in over a decade, even if it did take ‘Mystic Mac’ a meagre 13 seconds to dethrone him.

Or, maybe he wasn’t. Because the former champion has claimed that the UFC had promised the victor of his bout with McGregor an immediate crack at the lightweight crown, but with one caveat; the successful party must first vacate the featherweight title.

However, upon their return to 145lbs, they’d receive an immediate crack at the belt.

"When we signed the contract, the plan was that the winner would move up to lightweight and vacate the featherweight belt. That's what they told us,” Aldo said to Portal Do Vale Tudo.

"Whether we won or lost the lightweight bout, when we moved back down we'd get the immediate title shot. I think they gave him (McGregor) too much leeway and now he's gotten too big.”

Aldo went on to say that the brash Dubliner is now yielding an inordinate amount of influence within the upper echelons of the UFC, and then swiftly turned his attention to company president Dana White.

Historically, Aldo and White have had a tempestuous relationship and the former has now joined a long list of fighters to state that the latter has reneged on a promise apparently made in earnest.

The Rio resident said that in the immediate aftermath of his loss to McGregor, White informed him that he and Frankie Edgar would fight for the featherweight title because the Irishman would be making the divisional migration, though without his  newly-minted belt in tow.

"Right after the fight, Dana came to the locker room and told us that the next fight would be against Frankie for the title and that Conor was moving up to lightweight because he was struggling to make weight."

Aldo was adamant that he and the SBG man would cross paths again and that the outcome would be radically different.

"I obviously want a rematch, especially because we didn't even fight. Neither of us fought, he connected with one punch and the fight was over. Beautiful, congratulations to him but that's not what anyone expected from the fight.”

"I don't live my life thinking about that, though. I always live my life focusing on tomorrow, on what's ahead. It doesn't matter if it's a rematch or a title fight against somebody else but I know we'll fight again one day and I'm going to win this time. I know I have the ability.

"What's next for me is another fight and I won't accept any fight that's not for the belt."

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