Jose Aldo is once again a UFC champion after a unanimous-decision win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 to win the interim UFC Featherweight Championship on Saturday.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports tweeted the scores for the interim champ:
The opening round played out as the technical kickboxing affair you may expect from these two. Edgar was the one who pushed the pace, while Aldo appeared hesitant to commit to too much in light of his last knockout loss against Conor McGregor.
However, that hesitance didn't last forever, as Aldo unleashed a few strikes toward the end of the round that landed cleanly. UFC passed along the highlight:
The second round turned out to be an intensified version of the first, as both fighters became a little more comfortable in exchanges. Edgar continued to push the action, while Aldo did his damage with counters. Brett Okamoto of ESPN noted Aldo's effective counterstriking in his scoring of the round:
Round 3 saw Edgar's aggression pay off. The two continued to engage in an excellent back-and-forth fight that saw the former lightweight champion land some substantial strikes. The UFC highlighted a cross that landed flush:
The championship rounds had a bit of what makes both fighters great. Edgar, in the face of continual counterstrikes from Aldo, showed huge heart in charging toward his opponent time and time again.
Aldo—in old-school fashion—continued to stuff takedowns with relative ease and discourage Edgar from coming forward with powerful counterstrikes over and over again. Connor Ruebusch of Bloody Elbow commented on just how frustrated Aldo made Edgar:
Usually, interim titles don't mean much, but in the case of Aldo, this one carries more weight than usual. That's because in most cases they're created as a placeholder while a champion comes back from an injury.
In this case, featherweight champion McGregor isn't injured. He's out doing his best impersonation of a welterweight. He's slated to headline UFC 202 in August in a 170-pound rematch against Nate Diaz.
McGregor hasn't given up on the notion of being the featherweight champion, though. To hear him tell it, he'll be back to reassert his dominance over the division in the near future before going for another fight against Diaz.
"I feel we'll enter into a trilogy. Why not? It was a great fight the last time, and I really enjoyed it," McGregor said, per Mike Bohn and Ken Hathaway of MMAJunkie. "I'll correct that win. I'll reclaim this. Let all those featherweights know that are praying I don't come back. I really, I swear to God, don't even understand how they could say I'm not coming back."
With The Notorious, the line between delusions of grandeur and captain of his destiny is a blurry one. Whether it's viable for McGregor to go back down to 145 pounds, then back to 170 and back again remains to be seen.
When McGregor fights Diaz in August, it will have been eight months since he competed in his original UFC division.
For the time being, the featherweight division has a new boss who is the same as the old boss. Aldo returns to the top of the division that he ran for so long before McGregor ended his reign in just 13 seconds.
It's a bout that Aldo still wants to run back, even if it has to happen in another weight class.
"No way," he said in regard to retiring without fighting McGregor again, per Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com. "Only if he stops fighting. As long as he's in the UFC, this fight will happen. That's a fact. We will get the belt back and be champion again. ... We'll move up. The UFC will do this fight. It doesn't matter at which weight. I don't care."
The last time Aldo and McGregor fought, it created one of the most memorable moments in UFC history.
But it didn't do so without some lingering questions. McGregor's quick knockout was skills-based. He's an excellent counterstriker, and that's what led to the quick finish. Just how the matchup would play out over the course of a longer fight is still a legitimate question, though.
Now with both men wearing gold, we might just get to see the sequel.