Ahhh, José Aldo. It appears that the former UFC featherweight champion just can't get over that 13-second knockout that Conor McGregor dished him at UFC 194.
First and foremost, Aldo was an incredible champion and ambassador for the UFC and MMA. The Brazilian was dominant in the featherweight division for a decade, unbeaten until he met Conor "The Notorious" McGregor. The duo had one helluva media world tour, going from Rio de Janeiro to Dublin as Irishman McGregor employed unparalleled trash talk. It appeared as if he truly got inside Aldo's head and after pulling out of the first scheduled bout, the Brazilian fell after just 13 seconds to a Mystic Mac-predicted KO.
Since the defeat, Aldo has maintained that he'll become champion once again and exact his revenge. In a recent interview with SevereMMA, McGregor said, "I'll keep going, keep eating, keep training. I'll keep going until fucking all the belts are wrapped up."
That didn't sit well with Aldo. Speaking this week in Rio, the former champ had some predictions of his own for Mystic Mac and, well, they're rather outlandish:
"I think it’s tough. And I’ll say this: I don’t think he will have any belt by the end of the year. And everyone will forget him. He has this dream, this goal, but you can be sure that he won’t have any by the end of the year.
"A fight is a fight and you have to respect the other side, but I see Rafael with the belt and the [featherweight] belt back to me. That’s a fact."
Of course, the idea that McGregor would be forgotten by the end of the year is absurd. Even if the Dubliner is defeated at UFC 196 by Rafael dos Anjos, I don't think the trash-talking king will suddenly drop off the face of the Earth.
What is more believable, is the claim that Aldo will be featherweight champion once again at the end of the year. UFC President Dana White has already hinted that Aldo's next fight will be a championship bout with Aldo himself, declaring that he will settle for nothing but a title shot.
If McGregor does manage to beat Anjos at UFC 196, there's a good chance he'll move up to welterweight in his bid for a third belt. With a featherweight defense likely needed before the end of the year, it would be highly unlikely that The Notorious would again go through the draining weight cut to 144lbs, especially coming from welterweight.
The obvious choice would be to vacate the belt, leaving Aldo first in line for a shot at reclaiming his gold. However, if Anjos comes out on top, we will likely see McGregor retreat back to featherweight to defend his championship belt.
Should Conor McGregor vacate the featherweight belt?