Jose Aldo was seen as many as one of the greatest champions the UFC has ever had. Undefeated for nearly 10 years, the Brazilian mixed martial artist became the first UFC Featherweight Champion during the UFC/WEC merger.
Jose Aldo was respected by fighters and fans alike. In the decade that came between each of his two losses, Jose 'Scarface' Aldo was undefeated in 18 fights including 10 title fights and 9 title defences. The former champ was even once rated as the best pound for pound fighter in the promotion.
Aldo came from extremely humble beginnings and had a raw passion and talent for the sport. Something that was evident in every high octane performance he gave inside the octagon and the fans loved him for it. His rise through the ranks of the fighting world and to success was even more celebrated when he once revealed in an interview that his ultimate goal was to simply own his own house. However, his humble nature and cool demeanour was about to change.
Enter Conor McGregor. The smack talking Irishman was to be a thorn in the side of Aldo ever since he stepped into the UFC octagon. With his first win secured in the division, McGregor made it no secret that he was gunning for Aldo and his belt.
The fighters seemed destine to eventually collide, and finally that date was made with UFC 189. Now an infamous event, the media tour leading up to the fight was almost as talked about as the eventual fight. It was evident that the Notorious one had started to get inside of Aldo's head. With McGregor's antics becoming more erratic towards the champ (such as snatching the champs belt on stage), many opted to side with the Brazilian, and hoped to see the hype train well and truly derailed. That wasn't to be the case.
It took 13 seconds to end Aldo's tenure as the division's title holder, and frankly, ever since he's been working hard to ruin his legacy one of the all-time greatest UFC champions.
After defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 178, McGregor exclaimed from the podium "I'm cocky in prediction, I'm confident in preparation, but I am always humble, in victory or defeat."
Even following his sensational 13 second stoppage of Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor was full of respect towards his opponent. Just before the official decision was announced, the Notorious one leaned over to give Aldo an outreached hand and told him that they could do it again. At the post fight press conference, McGregor said on numerous occasions that it was tough to see a champion like Aldo lose in such a fashion and complimented the Brazilian on the champion he'd been. To add to this, the Dubliner then took to his official Facebook page to thank the fans and leave a message for Aldo.
Respect to a great champion in Jose Aldo. The true greats will always overcome adversity.
I wish him and his loyal team well on their journey back. Much respect.
Yet... The same can not be said for Jose Aldo following his defeat.
It looks like the Brazilian never truly got over the loss. Having campaigned ever since for a rematch, Aldo's comments have became less about trash talk and more sore loser.
Following the devastating defeat, the first thing Aldo sought to do was inform the press that he hadn't lost the fight because there was no fight. He believed that the Irishman caught him with a lucky left hand and he was still the better fighter. Since then, his comments have became increasingly more aggressive and callous towards Conor McGregor.
When Nate Diaz submitted the featherweight champ in the second round at UFC 196, Aldo was quick to pounce taking to twitter to call McGregor a pussy.
Then back in March, the former featherweight champion made some pretty bizarre remarks about the power of Conor McGregor. It's well known within the UFC that the Notorious one packs a hell of a punch, especially with his left hand.
Joe Rogan has said on multiple occasions that the Irishman could knock out almost anyone, and that shows with 17 KO's/TKO's on his MMA record. That makes these recent comments from a man who got knocked out by one of those punches, all the more bizarre...
Of course, anybody will go down with a punch to the chin. Even if a little kid hits you on the chin. He has soap hands. He is always punching and nobody ever felt his punches. With me, they put a skateboard there for me to slip.
Then, Jose Aldo made the absurd claim that by the end of 2016 nobody would remember Conor McGregor. Sure, McGregor may lose to Nate Diaz for a second consecutive time at UFC 200, and either Aldo or Edgar could potentially be the featherweight champion by the end of the year, but for Conor to just vanish into obscurity with no legacy at all? That just doesn't seem likely.
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.
However, perhaps his latest claims are the most sickening of all. Within the world of MMA, much like all sports, performance enhancing drugs are strongly condemned, as are anyone who uses them. The fighters themselves become the lowest of the low within the community, often facing a lengthy suspension, and ultimately losing the respect of the roster. Perhaps one of the most high profile cases of this was when Anderson Silva tested positive for two PED's following UFC 183.
When Stockton native Nate Diaz put McGregor's name in the same sentence as steroids the Irishman lost it, aggressively asserting his stance against PED's. Of course, there is no plausible evidence that McGregor has ever used PED's especially since he was the most tested athlete within the promotion in 2015. Yet maybe Aldo seen that reaction and saw a glimpse of himself leading up to UFC 189 with ultimately the same result. Perhaps it was the mind games that pushed him into making the following comments.
Why would I rematch him in a different weight class with no belt? Now, to make this fight at 155, where he was full of juice in his body, where he hides and nobody tests him, only when he gets to Las Vegas, a week before the fight, and then it’s way easier for you to clean the body and fight.
Maybe Jose Aldo was just trying to get in his head. Maybe he'd seen first hand how detrimental an affect the mental game can have on fighters and is trying to get into McGregor's. I get that ever since McGregor came on the scene with his boisterous antics, fighters have to put on show in front of the media. It sells fights, it hypes fights and it entertains the fans.
Yet, Jose Aldo was always loved for the champion he was. Champions are defined by how they overcome the adversity that causes them to stumble during their career. How they deal with that first devastating loss, written off and ridiculed only to bounce back and reclaim their rightful place. This very idea is something Conor McGregor himself is attempting to do. Following his defeat at the hands of Nate Diaz, the Irishman has conducted himself in a manner worthy of champions. He was humble in defeat, he didn't attack Nate Diaz and most importantly he didn't make an excuse for the defeat.
Perhaps Jose Aldo could learn a thing or two from that.
Like I said above, Aldo and his team have been campaigning ever since the loss for a rematch. As former champ, that's only fair. However, many fans don't believe the Brazilian deserves the second shot and even UFC President Dana White has had his concerns. Aldo dodged the first fight with McGregor and then lasted a mere 13 seconds in the rescheduled bout. Do we really want to see a third media build up, to a potentially inevitable conclusion? Of course, Aldo may be right. Maybe that shot was lucky from McGregor... But I'd much rather let Frankie Edgar find that out.
UFC 200 will see a stacked card featuring a headline rematch welterweight bout between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, as well as featuring a featherweight match between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight championship.
UFC 200 will live from the MGM Grand, July 9.