On December 10, the UFC will return to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the first time since late 2013. It will do so with UFC 206.
Originally, this card was supposed to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champ Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. When Cormier withdrew from the bout with an injury, however, the UFC was forced to scramble in the creation of a new main event.
And what a scramble it was. First, they stripped Conor McGregor of the featherweight belt, and promoted Jose Aldo from interim featherweight champion to undisputed champ – despite his 2015 knockout loss to McGregor. Then, they announced that Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis, who were originally expected to fill UFC 206’s co-main event spot, had been bumped to the main event. The two talents will now meet in a five-round contest for the interim featherweight title, with the winner taking on Aldo in a title-unifier sometime in 2017. Exhale.
In advance of UFC 206, Holloway and Pettis joined the media for a conference call to discuss their new main event, interim title fight. Unsurprisingly, both men were asked about McGregor and Aldo on several occasions.
When Pettis was asked about Aldo – who he was briefly scheduled to fight in 2013 – he was quite complimentary, explaining that he still considers the Brazilian a great of the sport, despite his 13-second knockout loss to McGregor.
“For me, Jose Aldo is still Jose Aldo, man,” Pettis said of the new undisputed champ. “Everybody loses. Even the greatest lose sometimes. Even after 13 seconds, what he did with Conor McGregor, he still has the history he had. He was a dominant champ for a long time. It’s not like all of a sudden he sucks because he got knocked out by Conor McGregor.”
Pettis also touched on the opinion that Aldo will only be a paper champ unless he’s able to avenge his loss to McGregor.
“[Aldo] had a great career before Conor McGregor,” Pettis said. “There’s a reason why Conor let this happen. If Conor really wanted to fight at 145 pounds again, he would’ve done it and defended his title. So it’s not up to Jose Aldo, it’s not up to Conor McGregor, it’s not up to me or Max who’s the undisputed champ. We’re just doing our jobs. We’re going out there and fighting these fights and trying to prove that we’re the best in the world. And if that guy [Aldo] is there and the opportunity is there, eventually all of us will take it.”
Do you think Aldo’s legacy was hurt but his quick loss to McGregor? Sound off, PENN Nation!