Jack Dempsey told a biographer, “Tell them, everything I know, I learned from the losses.” UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo won 18 fights in a row, until he was knocked out by Conor McGregor in 13 seconds. Aldo ever carried himself with the respect and dignity of a world-class martial artist; after UFC 194, he became a believer in trash talk.
On Tuesday at the UFC 212 news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the champion spoke with reporters via an interpreter.
“I think [trash talk is] great,” said Aldo via a translator, as transcribed by Mike Bohn and Fernanda Prates for MMAjunkie. “That’s what sells fights. That’s what brings us money. We’re in a generation that’s totally different from when I began in the sport. When I started in the sport, with the athletes and fighters, there was honor and respect among us – the whole fight philosophy. There’s high-end fighters, and then there’s real fighters. Today, if you don’t talk and provoke, you’re not going to fight anyone. You’re just going to stay in the end of the line because the rankings are no good.
“What really gets you somewhere is to talk about your opponent and sell your fight. That’s what matters today. I think that’s totally normal. My fight [vs. McGregor], I made a lot of money, so that’s what I think about today. I think about being the champion I always was, having this honor and respect in all these things I’ve learned, but I don’t need to maintain this good boy status. I need to get in there and talk trash.”
“The athletes are really the matchmakers these days. If the athletes go out and talk trash, the fight’s going to happen. I think it’s valid. I think it’s normal. When the fight is over, we each go our separate ways, but we’re going to have our pockets full, and that’s all that matters.”
Aldo fights interim champion Max Holloway at UFC 212 on June 3, 2017 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I need to fight this fight, and once I win, I’m thinking of taking another path,” said Aldo. “I think this division is a little bit stopped, but also the lightweight division. We tried to close a fight [at lightweight] but it didn’t happen. Right now, I’m focused on my next fight, and once we win, I already have a few fights in mind I would like to make happen.
“I want super fights. I want to challenge other athletes. You can be sure that once we win, I have it all planned in my head.”