Last December, in the main event of UFC 194, Jose Aldo was knocked out by Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds. The loss forced the end of his decade-long unbeaten streak and his incredible reign as WEC and UFC featherweight champion.
In the year since his defeat of Aldo, McGregor has taken two welterweight fights with Nate Diaz, and a lightweight title fight with Eddie Alvarez, which he won by second-round TKO. In the wake of this lightweight title win, McGregor embarked on an open-ended hiatus from competition to father his first child.
Given the Irishman’s long absence from the featherweight division, which will only get longer as he enjoys his paternity leave, the UFC recently elected to strip him of the featherweight title. At the same time, they promoted Jose Aldo from interim champion to undisputed champion, as if his loss to McGregor never occured.
Though Aldo surely would have preferred to reclaim the title by defeating McGregor, he’s simply happy to be champion again. He considers this a return to normalcy – a normalcy that was derailed by a “fluke” loss to McGregor.
“I know I could win in a rematch,” Aldo said in an interview with UFC Brazil. “I knew I would be champion again. It’s not my fault that [McGregor] is a coward, that he was never champion. I don’t see myself losing to anyone in this weight class, or any other.”
“To me, I have always been the champion. I lost that fight because of a [fluke].”
While he is happy to own the undisputed featherweight title, and willing to defend it against the winner of UFC 206’s Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis interim title fight, Aldo admitted that he is still hellbent on earning a rematch with McGregor.
“Of course I think about this fight,” Aldo said, “and it certainly will happen. I want to defend my belt first, and then I’ll plan on this [McGregor] fight.”
As far as his first defense as new UFC featherweight champion goes, he doesn’t care who it’s against – he plans on winning either way.
“I don’t care — I’ll be prepared to face whoever wins,” Aldo said of the Holloway and Pettis’ looming showdown. “Of course, Pettis has a bigger name; he was champion once, and it would be a bigger fight. But if Holloway wins. it’s fine.
“I’m going to win anyway.”
Do you think Aldo will ever get his rematch with McGregor? Sound off, PENN Nation!