When a UFC title-holder says he's so fed up with his bosses that he wants to retire or lose intentionally to get out of his contract, the MMA world pays attention. That is exactly what interim featherweight champ Jose Aldo did in recent weeks when he tired of uncertainty and what he says were broken promises from the UFC.
The all-time great appeared ready to walk away from MMA competition forever, as recently as a week ago. Now, it seems that Aldo has made an about-face.
Aldo's coach and manager says his charge is willing to fight on in the UFC, on one condition: "If he goes back to fight, he will only fight to unify the title," Andre Pederneiras told Brazilian outlet Combate, as translated by MMAJunkie.
Aldo held the lineal world title at 145 lbs for about six years, with an overall nine-year unbeaten streak until he was felled by Conor McGregor last December, losing the UFC belt he'd held for so long. Then, the UFC created an interim title at featherweight, as McGregor fought at welterweight, twice.
Aldo won that interim strap with a decision victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 in July. Now, McGregor is scheduled to fight for a third time outside the featherweight division since beating Aldo, when he challenges 155lbs champ Eddie Alvarez this month for the world lightweight title.
"I think between February and March will be a good date."
Frustrated at having to wait on McGregor to decide if and when he'll return to featherweight, Aldo promised multiple times that he was done with the UFC and with competing in MMA. Now, it appears as though he sees no other option but to continue fighting for the promotion.
"Aldo wants to do the other things, but in the conversations we had with them, it became clear that they’re not going to let him do that,” Pederneiras continued.
“There’s nothing we can do. We have to fight.”
Team Aldo even seems to have a timeframe in mind for "Scarface" to hit the Octagon again. If MMA fans are lucky, we could get to see the legend back in action in the first quarter of 2017.
"I don’t know what Conor’s decision will be," Pederneiras concluded, "but I think between February and March will be a good date."