Prior to beating Chad Mendes at UFC 179, reigning featherweight king Jose Aldo (pictured) refused to discuss the possibility of fighting Conor McGregor until after successfully completing Saturday’s assignment.
When the moment finally arrived to talk about the UFC’s latest flavor of the month, Aldo declined to mention McGregor by name – only referring to the chatty Irishman as the division’s “joker.”
From a résumé standpoint, Aldo doesn’t believe McGregor is worthy of a crack at his crown just yet. However, Aldo is fully aware that the fight business is also known as the money business, and sometimes talking the talk gets you things you haven’t necessarily earned.
“I didn’t speak his name,” Aldo stated at the UFC 179 post-fight press conference of intentionally not giving McGregor any limelight during his in-cage speech. “First of all, my kingdom is full now. I’m the king, Chad’s the prince and there’s a joker in the court. He’s a guy that just talks.
“He hasn’t fought anyone. He hasn’t fought anyone as tough as us. So to get here right now and talk, but I’ve heard that a lot. Chael Sonnen did that in his weight class, and now he’s lost. He can talk as much as he wants. We’re grounded, we have our feet on the ground. Chad and I know what the weight class is like. We’re athletes and we have to respect each other. We know that in there, we make it happen. And that’s what I wanted to say.”
On the flipside, Aldo knows McGregor is quickly becoming one of the UFC’s biggest stars and he would love to benefit from that on the financial side, especially since McGregor will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the pre-fight promotional activities.
“First of all, every fight interests me,” Aldo said. “When I arrived here [in the UFC], I dreamed about being the champion so I didn’t see that side, and today we have to think about the other side, the financial side. It’s part of our work. If it’s Conor, or whoever it is, I’m always going to give everything I have to promote the fight, and that way, outside the ring we also win. That’s also important. So it’s not just me who depends on that. I have a team, about 10 people with me, and I have to pay everyone.
“Jose Aldo doesn’t fight alone. So of course I need to promote the fight. So the more we promote the fight, the more sellable the fight is. It makes my job easier. So I have to think about that. I can’t just think about going in there and winning. There’s a lot of people depending on me so I’m always looking to do that. If it’s Conor, we’re going to do a great promotion and a great fight.”
Aldo’s immediate future is up in the air, but McGregor’s was announced last week. He’ll headline the UFC’s Boston card on January 18 against Dennis Siver. UFC president Dana White said a win there could earn McGregor a title tilt.