UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo picked up what may have been his toughest-ever win when he scored a decision victory over tough No. 1 contender Chad Mendes in the main event of last night’s (October 25, 2014) UFC 179 from Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rocking Mendes with some big shots and absorbing several himself, Aldo showed the heart of a true champion during UFC 179’s “Fight of the Night”-winning bout. With his rivalry against “Money” over (at east for now), his career will head in a different direction.
After the fight, the champion called out Conor McGregor, and so did Mendes. Not surprisingly, talk immediately shifted to the “Notorious” one at the post-fight presser, and Aldo had some choice words for the silver-tongued Irishman.
Aldo likened the suddenly burgeoning UFC featherweight division to his own court, with the top fighters each playing a role:
“My court is full now. I am the king, Chad is the prince, and there is a joker now.”
That “joker” he’s referring to is undoubtedly McGregor, who was present at tonight’s event and was also thought to be the next title contender at 145 pounds; that is until news broke that he would be headlining UFC Fight Night 59 against Dennis Siver in January.
But whether McGregor gets his shot at Aldo now or later, the champion believes that he only talks a big game. In Aldo’s eyes, he simply hasn’t faced anyone on he or Mendes’ level, referencing a former title contender with a penchant for talking his way into big fights only to lose:
“He’s a guy who just talks. He hasn’t fought anyone as tough as us. So to get here right now and talk, I’ve heard that a lot. Chael Sonnen did that a lot in his weight class, and now he’s lost, so he can talk as much as he wants.”
Aldo may have a clear assessment of the situation, as the main knock on McGregor is that he hasn’t faced much competition while talking his way to the top of the 145-pound ranks.
McGregor’s strategy is probably one that more fighters could use to add a bit of excitement to their game, however, as it’s a refreshing departure from the company men who say they only want to fight “whoever the UFC gives me.”
True, he may come off as overrated and brash to some, but even if he finds himself in a UFC title shot in just around two years’ time and loses, he’ll still have won in a big way.
McGregor has rejuvenated the featherweight division despite not having the belt around his waist. Everyone wants to see what Aldo’s next move is because it involves McGregor.
It’s gotten to the point where McGregor’s hype has overtaken the fact that Aldo may just be the No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But is “Junior” right about his proposed future nemesis, or can “Notorious” continue to deliver on all of his talk by taking the belt he already feels is his?
Whatever happens, it’s certainly going to be exciting to find out.
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