The hold at the top of the UFC’s featherweight division has Jose Aldo looking at drastic measures regarding his career.
Speaking with Combate on Tuesday, the interim 145-pound king confirmed that he has requested his release from the Las Vegas-based promotion. Aldo’s demand coincides with the news that Conor McGregor, the undisputed featherweight king, will face Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship in the UFC 205 main event. McGregor has not defended the belt since defeated Aldo via 13-second knockout at UFC 194 last December.
“I heard about everything that happened from my coach. He’d talked to [matchmaker] Sean Shelby on Saturday, and Sean didn’t have an answer for anything and asked if I could fight on Nov. 12. My coach answered that if it were against Conor, yes, and then Sean asked him if I’d fight Max Holloway or Anthony Pettis. Then [Andre Pederneiras] said that, for these two, he’d rather do a full camp and that it could happen on Dec. 10,” Aldo told Combate.
“So we waited until Dana said publicly that he wanted this fight with McGregor to happen. Then we were expecting it to happen: either I’d have my rematch to unify the featherweight belt or I’d get my belt back fighting Holloway or Pettis, considering that, according to what Dana himself had been saying all along, Conor couldn’t keep both belts. But, to my surprise, I found out last night about the fight between McGregor and Eddie Alvarez, who’d also been denied by Dana himself last week and, to make matters worse, he’d keep the featherweight belt, being able to get two belts simultaneously.”
Earlier on Tuesday, White told SportsCenter that McGregor would have to relinquish either the 155-pound or 145-pound title if he defeats Alvarez at UFC 205. That claim doesn’t inspire much confidence in Aldo, however, especially after McGregor still seemed set on keeping both belts at a press conference in New York on Tuesday. Aldo sees McGregor, not the UFC, as the one in the position of power.
“Conor, himself, had said he wasn’t going to give the belt away and that no one would take it from him. After all of this, I see I can’t trust a single word from president Dana White and that the person in charge of the event now is Conor McGregor,” Aldo said. “Since I’m not here to be McGregor’s employer, I ask for my contract with the UFC to be terminated. When they suggested the fight against Frankie Edgar [at UFC 200], Dana said the winner of this fight would either be McGregor’s challenger or have the undisputed belt, because if he didn’t return to the featherweight division after the Nate Diaz rematch, he’d lose the belt. After so many times being lied to, I don’t feel motivated to fight in the UFC anymore.”
McGregor was the first person to defeat Aldo in 17 UFC and WEC appearances. The Brazilian has long been regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound talents in the sport, and he reaffirmed that status with a clear-cut decision win over Edgar at UFC 200 to claim interim gold. Still, recent events have sapped his motivation to compete in the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
“I no longer believe in Dana’s statement that Conor would have to give up one of the belts after UFC 205 since, from what we’re seeing, this type of decision is no longer in his hands, since now Conor is the one calling the shots. The biggest proof that the person in charge of the UFC is Conor is that when I wanted to move up to fight Pettis, they said I’d have to give up my belt and try the fight with no belt. With him, not only did they let him fight in the upper division without losing the belt, they let him do other fights as he wishes,” Aldo said.
“I understand he’s a big draw, but there’s a limit in which this is no longer a sport and it’s a circus. I don’t want any type of fight with the UFC. The only thing I want is to move on with my life and that they move on with theirs.”