Jose Aldo Claims He Will Fight For Interim Lightweight Title in 2017

Aldo makes a somewhat surprising revelation regarding his next fight, and plots a rematch with McGregor.

UFC 194 in December 2015 saw the dethroning of the first and only featherweight champion in the promotion’s history. After months of mental warfare, a world tour [initially for UFC189] and a rescheduled fight, it  took “The Notorious” a meagre 13 seconds to topple “Scarface” to claim the 145 pound strap. Now lightweight champion of the world, McGregor has since become an MMA global phenomenon. Aldo, on the other hand, has had to rebuild, and he is doing a good job so far.

Just over one year later, Aldo (28-26-2) is once again king of his division. McGregor’s “relinquishing” of the title he effortlessly took from the former pound for pound #1 may be as unceremonious a way to reclaim his belt, but the main thing for “Junior” is that he is back where he belongs.

The ex-WEC Featherweight Champion did not get his gold back as he wanted to (in the octagon). The UFC rather unceremoniously announced that the SBG Ireland man had relinquished his title, effectively handing it to him [Aldo] without a single punch being thrown.

There is no denying that we have seen an ignoble side of Nova União’s greatest fighter. 12 months of bickering, insults and diatribe (plus a half-hearted retirement) have all but banished the once calm and collected reputation of the 30 year old. Revenge against McGregor has been a consistent theme in his frustrations, however.

It was expected that the Brazilian would face newly-crowned, interim featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 208 this coming February. According to “Scarface”, this is not the case. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani interviewed Aldo on Tuesday, and was not expecting the answers he got when questioning Jose on his next fight:

The Brooklyn fight [against Holloway in February] is not happening. I now expect and believe I will be fighting in early March. Either March 3 or March 4, I can’t remember. I believe they will soon announce an interim lightweight title fight with me. They’ve been trying to find me an opponent, and — surprise, surprise — at least one has already turned down the fight against me. I’m waiting to see who they will find.

When asked about who turned the fight down, Aldo said:

They’ve asked me not to say anything. I won’t say who it is because it’s a surprise. A guy we never thought would turn it down turned it down, because his father didn’t think it was good. I’m tired of people turning down fights. I want to put some pressure so they’ll take the fight.

There is only speculation as to who the fighter alleged to have turned down the fight is.  One premier lightweight, who has a distinct father/son relationship in MMA, does comes to mind. #1 ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0-0)  surely has done enough to earn a shot at the 155 pound strap, and has been vocal in why he deserves the next shot . Tony Ferguson (23-3-0) is currently ranked #2 in the lightweight division, and would be another potential opponent for the Manaus native (if what he says is true).

2017 promises to be another interesting year for MMA. With so many UFC grudges, twists and subplots expected to unravel, how much interest would McGregor v Aldo 2 generate?