Heading into 2015, Jose Aldo was the UFC featherweight champion, the only 145-pound champion in the promotion’s history, and he had been undefeated for nearly 10 years. Then, however, he was matched up with outspoken superstar Conor McGregor.
The two were scheduled to meet at UFC 189 in July 2015, but Aldo was forced to withdraw from the bout just weeks before after suffering an injury. When the two finally did meet at December 2015’s UFC 194, “Scarface’s” reign came crashing down as he was brutally knocked out by McGregor in just 13 seconds.
In the aftermath of the bout, Aldo made it clear that he wanted an immediate rematch, but the “Notorious” one went on to take two fights at welterweight against Nate Diaz. The Brazilian, on the other hand, fought and beat Frankie Edgar at July 9’s UFC 200 for the interim featherweight title. With this win, Aldo was promised a rematch with McGregor, but once again, the Irishman had different plans.
Earlier this week it was announced that McGregor would be facing lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at November 12’s UFC 205, once again leaving Aldo in the dust. “Scarface”, obviously very unhappy with the situation, quickly responded by asking the UFC for his release.
Explaining his feelings to Yahoo! Sports recently, Aldo detailed his dissatisfaction with the UFC, saying that it has been ‘brewing’ for quite some time now:
“First of all, my dissatisfaction is not about not getting this fight with Conor McGregor,” Aldo said. “My dissatisfaction has been brewing for a long time. Before my loss to McGregor when I had to pull out of our first fight [scheduled for UFC 189 in July], I was not happy with the way the UFC spun my rib injury. I was not happy to see them mischaracterize my injury and not support me as I had to pull out of that fight.
“When I lost to Conor McGregor, I had been undefeated for nearly 10 years. I think if anybody deserved an immediate rematch, it was me against Conor in those circumstances. It was a quick fight. I got caught and the fans in the arena didn’t really get to see a full fight. I think that for everything I’d already achieved for the sport and my record, it was a rematch I deserved immediately and without a doubt.”
Aldo once again reiterated that his problem is not necessarily with McGregor, but rather with UFC President Dana White:
“Conor is not my issue,” Aldo said. “My issue is that I feel Dana is not in control any more. It’s a runaway train. Things have been promised and not delivered and he’s no longer in charge, no longer the boss.
“Frankly, it’s starting to feel like a circus with promises made and not kept. If that’s how it is going to be, I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
While defending his title in a rematch with Aldo would appear to have made sense, McGregor clearly took the ‘money fight’, or the bigger fight, which is the super fight with Alvarez. After all, Aldo has been criticized before for his lack of finishes, and his unwillingness to sell a fight. On the marketing side, Aldo said that his style simply comes down to respect:
“I hear a lot of people say the reason I don’t call the shots and that I’m not happy with my income is that I don’t sell fights,” Aldo said. “People have said that to me and they’ve said it about me. I’ve heard people say, ‘Jose needs to be a better marketer; he needs to sell his fights more.’ But that’s not the philosophy I was raised with. My coach is a martial artist. I’m a martial artist. What we do starts with respect.
“Where the sport is going is not respectful. The people who are selling fights are people who are giving each other the middle finger, throwing objects at press conferences, getting caught snorting cocaine and making headlines for all kinds of wrong reasons. What I was taught and what I believe in is, I do my best inside the cage. I believe people want to watch me for my ability as an athlete. … If the direction the sport is going is you’ve got to make headlines for the wrong reasons in order to be worthy of respect and in order to be worthy of the right income, it’s not something I’ll ever be on board with.”
What do you make of Aldo’s comments and do you expect the former longtime title holder to pursue his requested release?