The Brazilian, regarded as one of the sport’s greatest competitors, lost his featherweight strap to McGregor in 13 seconds at UFC 194.
With the Irishman now facing up to a lightweight showdown with Rafael dos Anjos at the recently renamed UFC 196, Aldo took to Instagram to reveal he will not be stepping back into the Octagon unless his demands are met.
“I wanted to make something clear to UFC: for everything I have done, everything I have accepted and mostly how the fight ended, I will not accept any other fight other than a title shot,” Aldo wrote. “My only exception would be fighting the Notorious [McGregor], at any time, anywhere.”
Aldo also encouraged UFC President Dana White "keep your word" in respect of a rematch with McGregor. Here’s the picture that accompanied the former champion's post, in which he tells McGregor he “knows that I’m gonna win” if they went toe-to-toe again and “I wanna whoop ur ass anywhere”:
The manner in which Aldo was floored by McGregor makes an immediate rematch a tough sell for plenty.
However, there are many who would argue the swift ending gives more cause for another fight between the pair. After all, Aldo, who hadn’t lost for a decade prior to facing McGregor, is a very gifted fighter; had the Irishman dominated his opponent for the course of a couple of rounds and then finished him, then determining the better man would be more clear cut, something not so easy with a flash finish.
McGregor’s upcoming opponent, Dos Anjos, actually feels as though in most cases, his compatriot would have won the bout at UFC 194, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN:
RDA thinks Aldo would beat Conor 9 times out of 10. Said he rushed that night. Maybe he was emotional.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 20, 2016
The featherweight champion’s jump to lightweight does leave Aldo in a predicament. The Notorious is seeking to become the first man to hold two titles in different weight classes concurrently and has been adamant he’ll be an active champion in multiple divisions, per Martin Domin of the MailOnline.
But for the time being, there are classy featherweights sitting on their hands. Aldo, of course, has a case for a shot at the title given his longstanding dominance in the division, while Frankie Edgar’s masterclass victory against Chad Mendes would usually yield a title shot too.
UFC reporter Simon Head thinks Aldo and Edgar should square off for an interim title, with the winner facing McGregor in a unification showdown at UFC 200:
Is Aldo right to issue this ultimatum?
You can understand the frustrations of Aldo, as the division he’s dominated for so long is left to stand still. While McGregor’s quest to break new ground is gripping and has been facilitated by the UFC, it leaves the likes of the Brazilian, Edgar and anyone else seeking to scale the featherweight summit in a tough spot.
If Aldo and Edgar did square off, a possible showdown with McGregor for the winner would have the potential to be enormous. But after two drawn-out promotions—Aldo pulled out of the initial fight scheduled with the Irishman—you’d think a different challenge for the Brazilian would appeal to both him and MMA fans around the globe.