Tuesday afternoon, UFC interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo left the MMA community stunned as he requested that the UFC release him from his contract so that he could retire from MMA and move to another sport entirely.
Aldo expressed his frustration with the UFC for not making good on their promise to force Conor McGregor to defend his title after his UFC 202 scrap with Nate Diaz. While UFC President Dana White was adamant that McGregor either defend the belt in a title unification fight with Jose Aldo, or vacate the strap, McGregor has now been booked to fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship in the main event of the UFC’s historic card at the Madison Square Garden.
In addition to not defending his featherweight title, McGregor has refuted UFC President Dana White’s claims that he will vacate either the 145 or 155 pound title if he emerges from UFC 205 victorious.
Following Aldo’s request to be released, UFC President Dana White spoke to Combate:
“We won’t cancel his contract. We know he got very emotional. We respect Jose Aldo very much. We care for the people around him. Khabib (Nurmagomedov) wanted a fight on the card and we got it for him. I’m sure we can find something nice for Jose, as well.”
From the time White initially mentioned McGregor having to defend his featherweight title before UFC 202, ‘Notorious’ remained noncommittal about returning to featherweight for a title unification fight with Aldo, pointing out that the first time they were slated to fight, Aldo backed out after a world tour. In addition, McGregor reminded fans that when the pair did step into the Octagon, Aldo lost in just 13 seconds.