Conor McGregor’s hype is at an all time high, but how can everyone overlook the champion Jose Aldo? The UFC does a great job of marketing, but how can you have the P4P number 1 as the underdog?
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo takes on his bitter rival Conor McGregor at UFC 194, to end what has been a year long feud with his Irish counterpart. After ‘The Notorious’ won the interim belt against Aldo’s replacement Chad Mendes at UFC 189, the opinion that McGregor would topple Aldo grew even more common.
That’s not to say that the Vegas oddsmakers didn’t have Aldo as the underdog the first time around either, because they did. ‘The Notorious’ hadn’t cracked the top five yet and the bookies were already calling it a day for the P4P king.
Once the rematch was announced, McGregor again opened as the favorite in the betting lines, as mentioned, over the consensus best active fighter on the planet, weight regardless. So what’s the story?
Is the weight of the UFC’s apparent rift with Aldo being reflected in the odds? It’s a known fact (see Kelvn Gastelum’s paid weight cutting courtesy of the UFC) that the promotion will put money in to the personal development of popular or more favored fighters, and of course ‘Scarface’ does not fall in to that category.
This is mainly due to Aldo’s outspoken opinions over the Reebok deal, sub standard fighter pay, favoritism and potential corruption. We know that the Brazilian champion is not easily fazed, but also it must be incredibly hard knowing that your employers really want you to lose, and mainly for monetary reasons.
Just look at the UFC store’s recent tee shirt labelling Conor McGregor the featherweight champion. OK, yes, they also called Ryan Bader the heavyweight champion, but the irony in the championship tee, given current circumstances, is not lost.
Skip to page 2 for further speculative theories…
Maybe it’s the two inch height and four inch reach advantage that McGregor holds over Aldo that is also helping to sway the odds, but if that was the case Stefan Struve would be the betting favorite over everyone. The southpaw stance? The killer striking? Personally, I think the odds reflect a slightly uneducated opinion from the betting oddsmakers.
Not to say that McGregor doesn’t have a chance at defeating Aldo, in fact he has the best chance of all Aldo’s former title challengers, but can we ever recall a pound-for-pound king that’s unbeaten in ten years coming in as an underdog? No.
On the other side of the coin, Aldo may well be in big trouble here. If the Las Vegas bookies know something we don’t, then the odds could in fact make sense. Perhaps they found out Aldo is starting to waver, and the Irish trash talker is inside the mind of the champion after so many confrontations.
Of course the casual fan is picking McGregor purely because they don’t know who ‘the other guy’ is, or they’ve simply been swept away by countless promotional videos showcasing only ‘The Notorious,’ and not the only ever UFC featherweight champion.
All of these factors could well be part of the odds Aldo faces at UFC 194, but truthfully, how surprising would it be if his reign came to an end? Former UFC women’s bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey was ‘the most dominant athlete’ before UFC 193, and look how that turned out.
Sure, maybe McGregor won’t KO Aldo as he’s promised, but is there really no chance of him outworking the champ over five rounds, and maybe even submitting him? Let’s be realistic, anything can and often does happen.
Sure, the odds are a little out of whack, but honestly, a bet on either guy is a risk. The UFC’s lack of Jose Aldo coverage is still pretty annoying though, given the fact he’s been one of the most elite fighters on the globe for a decade now.
Let’s hope they don’t treat Conor McGregor like this if/when he eventually wins a title and stops being as useful as he is now.
Enjoy this video of Jose Aldo wrecking sh*t, and stay tuned.