Jose Aldo won the WEC featherweight championship in 2009 and successfully defended it twice. When the entire promotion was bought by the UFC, Aldo became the UFC featherweight champion, and successfully defended it seven more times.
Late last year Conor McGregor took Aldo’s title in 13 seconds and then went in search of the lightweight belt, which turned into an unsuccessful fight at welterweight vs. Nate Diaz. That led to a rematch, and finally a successful taking of the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez. McGregor then declared he was taking off until May for the birth of his first child.
In the meantime, Aldo fought Frankie Edgar for the interim title, and won. Then McGregor had to choose one belt, and gave up featherweight. So Aldo’s interim belt became the real one, and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will fight Max Holloway for a new interim title at UFC 206.
Now Aldo has broken his silence, in an interview with the Brazil Portuguese site Combate. He says he knew the title stripping was coming.
“It was a fact that this was going to happen,” said Aldo, as translated by Steven Marrocco and Fernanda Prates for MMAjunkie. “We knew he was going to relinquish the belt – obviously, either mine or the lightweight one.
“I think both are very tough fights for him, either at lightweight with Khabib or a rematch with me. So he chose to let go of mine. It’s no problem. Of course, first I want to do a defense and then, yes, I will want to pursue a fight with him.”
“I think I’ve always been the champion, and I will always be the champion. As long as I’m at featherweight, no matter what happens, I’ll keep being the champion. So this, for me, was something that was already certain. The minute I lost, I knew, the next day, the belt would be mine again. It was just a matter of time. Of course, not the way I wanted, but I’m happy because I know I’m the champion.”
“Since Dana said that we can choose who we want to fight, I want to fight [McGregor]. That’s what’s going to happen.”
“I said that if one day I left the UFC, [because] I wanted to try other sports, I said if I returned to MMA I wanted it to be to the UFC, because I’m the best in the world and the best in the world is the UFC. So I had to be there, always motivated. That’s my life. There’s no way I can escape and want something else, so I’m very motivated. I have a few fights left on my contract, but I also want to test myself in other things because I think I can also do well.
“I’d been training, even with everything that’s been happening. I’ve been training and helping out my friends here [at Nova Uniao]. And now we’re already making the arrangements to fight in the future. I think maybe in February or March we’ll be fighting hopefully. I don’t want to wait too long because it’s been a while since my last fight. I don’t want to go too long without fighting.”