Aldo: ‘I never stopped being champion’

Conor McGregor held on to the featherweight title for nearly a year, but as far as Jose Aldo is concerned, the Irishman was “never the champion”.

In fact, Aldo believes that he “never stopped being champion” even though he was forced to hand over the featherweight title to McGregor at UFC 194 in December last year after being knocked out in just 13 seconds. 

Since then, Aldo has been desperate for a rematch, but has constantly been snubbed as McGregor took on Nate Diaz twice before turning his attention to lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who he beat at UFC 205 earlier this month to become the first UFC fighter to hold two titles at the same time. 

McGregor, though, was forced to relinquish one of his belts and gave up the featherweight title, which has now been given back to Aldo. 

“I knew that would happen,” Aldo told Brazilian TV show Planeta SporTV. “To me, I never stopped being champion. I lost that fight because of an accident. I knew that I would win a rematch, that I would be champion again.

“It’s not my fault that he’s such a [expletive] he was never the champion. I don’t see myself losing to anyone in this division or any other (division).

“I was always the champion and will always be as long as I’m in the featherweight division. No matter what happens, I will always be the champion. I had no doubt about it. The moment I lost, I knew the belt would be mine. It was a matter of time. It’s not the way I wanted, but I’m happy because I know I’m the champion.”

Aldo, at one point, had even threatened to opt out of his UFC contract and considered taking legal action against the promotion, but it seems that his fighting days are not over after he was made the featherweight champion once again. 

When asked what’s next for him, the Brazilian revealed that he will first defend his title against the winner of Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway, who will fight for the interim featherweight title at UFC 206 on December 10. 

Should he be victorious, Aldo revealed that he will then start focusing on getting a rematch with McGregor, even if it means moving up to the lightweight division. 

“First, I want to defend my title, and then go after a fight with him (at lightweight),” Aldo said. “Just like Dana (White) said, we can choose who we want to fight, so I want to fight him. That’s what will happen.”