Create a free account to unlock this article!
Already a subscriber? Log In
On Feb. 11, the newly crowned UFC featherweight champion will defend his belt against Max Holloway at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, New York. That fight, according to the Brazilian, will bring out a new version of himself--both inside and outside the cage.
"I'm going to win. That's a fact," Aldo told Ag. Fight about his upcoming bout during a training session on Tuesday at Nova União gym in Rio de Janeiro.
After seeing his nemesis Conor McGregor win the lightweight title after already having captured but never defending the featherweight strap he took from Aldo, the Brazilian seems as motivated as ever to try to do the same and win a belt in another division.
Additionally, of course, he still seeks revenge against the Irish superstar.
"I want to get a fight with Conor, but as he is running from the fight, I want to see how things are going to be in the division," Aldo said. "But we will fight at lightweight. I don't want to fight him at featherweight. I'm the champion, and I've been beating everyone. I want to fight in another division, too, since this is possible now. It is not possible just for one guy. I will ask for a fight, and I will also deny fights if I want to. Since [UFC president Dana White] said that he doesn't force anybody to fight... This is me right now."
Aldo's reasoning for his demands is simple. Years ago, when the UFC was struggling to find worthy opponents for him in the middle of his 10-year unbeaten run, Aldo tried to get a a superfight booked against Anthony Pettis, who was the organization's lightweight champion at the time. However, the UFC gave Aldo the choice to fight for a belt at either feather or lightweight. Not in both divisions.
After McGregor did just that, though, by going up against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November while still holding the belt at featherweight, Aldo maintains that he now wants to play by the same rules as his rival. His change of mind--going from retiring to wanting to fight in not one but two divisions--was only possible after a meeting behind closed doors in Las Vegas with White, who managed to talk Aldo out of retirement and listened to his fighter's concerns regarding company politics.
According to Aldo, he's been on the wrong end of those political decisions for far too long.
"Frankie Edgar, before our first fight, he had lost twice in a row and then he came directly for the [title at] featherweight," Aldo said. "The meeting with Dana opened our minds a lot. Now we understand the UFC's side, too. It is not about treatment. Of course, [McGregor] will be their priority, but now we are going to play the same cards. I was the dominant champion for a long time, so I have the right to ask for things, too. And we will start by asking for things that will be worthy to us."
Something worthy, according to Aldo and his team, would be that two-division championship. His or Holloway's interim belts, on the other hand, don't fall into that category.
"This interim belt is bulls**t," Aldo said about Holloway's title. "Even when I won it [in July at UFC 200] I said that. It is just a f****ing excuse that someone created to save events. That is what this belt means. I'm the champion, and I will be waiting to defend my title. If it is not going to be against [Holloway], I could do a superfight or fight in another division."
By Ag. Fight for FloCombat