Conor McGregor is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jose Aldo’s problems with the UFC.
One of MMA’s most celebrated champions declared himself finished with the promotion (and possibly the sport altogether) Tuesday following the announcement of a superfight between featherweight champion Conor McGregor and lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for UFC 205 in November.
Aldo won an interim featherweight belt in July, and was under the assumption that a bout with McGregor to unify the titles would be next. Instead, the UFC chose to book McGregor-Alvarez. That broken promise is simply the latest in a long line of transgressions that has Aldo contemplating retirement.
“First of all, my dissatisfaction is not about not getting this fight with Conor McGregor,” Aldo told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. “My dissatisfaction has been brewing for a long time. Before my loss to McGregor when I had to pull out of our first fight, I was not happy with the way the UFC spun my rib injury. I was not happy to see them mischaracterize my injury and not support me as I had to pull out of that fight.”
Aldo and McGregor’s first meeting was originally set for UFC 189 last July, but Aldo backed out with an injury that his camp described as a fractured rib. UFC president Dana White disputed the report, claiming that Aldo’s ribs were merely bruised.
When Aldo made it to the Octagon to face McGregor the following November, McGregor knocked him out in 13 seconds. Instead of being given an immediate rematch in recognition of his near-decade of dominance over the featherweight division, Aldo was passed over in favor of having McGregor face then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
An injury to Dos Anjos paved the way for a pair of lucrative welterweight fights between McGregor and Nate Diaz, leaving Aldo the odd man out. While he waited for the UFC to figure out what to do with the featherweight division, Aldo could only watch as McGregor became one of the most influential personalities in the sport.
It’s a path Aldo isn’t interested in treading himself.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Jose needs to be a better marketer; he needs to sell his fights more.’ But that’s not the philosophy I was raised with,” Aldo said. “My coach is a martial artist. I’m a martial artist. What we do starts with respect. Where the sport is going is not respectful. The people who are selling fights are people who are giving each other the middle finger, throwing objects at press conferences, getting caught snorting cocaine and making headlines for all kinds of wrong reasons.
“What I was taught and what I believe in is, I do my best inside the cage. I believe people want to watch me for my ability as an athlete. … If the direction the sport is going is you’ve got to make headlines for the wrong reasons in order to be worthy of respect and in order to be worthy of the right income, it’s not something I’ll ever be on board with.”