Jose Aldo has advised all gamblers to place their bets on him if they're looking to make money from his December clash against Conor McGregor, insisting he's happy to embrace his underdog status.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship's featherweight titleholder heads into a unification bout opposite interim champion McGregor at UFC 194 on December 12. He spoke to Brazilian outlet Sportv, using Holly Holm's shock win over Ronda Rousey as an example of how things don't always go to script (h/t Bloody Elbow's Lucas Rezende):
Whoever wants to make money, all they have to do is bet on Aldo. It'll be the easiest money they will ever make in their lives. Just like what happened to Ronda Rousey against Holly Holm. That's not a problem for me. I don't know who decides who gets to be the favorite. I focus on myself. I know what I can do and what I have to do to win.
The power balance of this featherweight decider has changed drastically over the course of 2015, and McGregor's louder persona has installed him as the favoured fighter for the Las Vegas bout.
While the Dubliner has triumphed in two 2015 fixtures—the most recent of which came against Chad Mendes, Aldo's stand-in at UFC 189—it's been more than a year since Aldo last entered the Octagon (October 2014).
That may be one of the factors affecting the outright champion's diminished reputation, but Aldo is by no means being treated as an easy target, with more than a decade having passed since his last defeat.
It's a fight that's been mired in controversy, from injury setbacks to disagreements over drug testing. The most recent outcry came from Aldo, who told Brazilian outlet Combate he wasn't certain if McGregor was even being tested (h/t The 42.ie):
He’s not being tested In Ireland. I don’t even know if there’s a commission there. This commission had to be from Vegas or anywhere. We said that, like he said it a lot, we wanted to be tested every week at the same time, me and him, but it didn’t happen. I’m being tested a lot, they come here to the gym.
The featherweight division is still a relatively new platform to the UFC compared with its longer-standing weight classes, but a fixture between Aldo and McGregor promises to publicise this sector like never before.
Both fighters bring venomous striking to the bout, but while McGregor's last four consecutive wins have come via knockout, Aldo has triumphed in his most recent two matches via decision.
It's not quite the record many might have expected the UFC 194 combatants to boast making their way to the MGM Grand Arena, where fans can only hope this date lives up to its expectations.
Even if McGregor is the favourite, his advantage may only be considered a slight one, and Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter has spoken of the unpredictability of this collision:
Aldo has reigned as the UFC's only featherweight champion to date, and although McGregor's hype train has a head of steam, there's little doubt this will be the toughest test of his career.
If the interim champion isn't proven already, this will be his greatest testing ground, and while Aldo laps up the underdog profile, perhaps the bigger question is whether McGregor will cope with being labelled the favourite.