Aldo praises Holloway, dismisses leg injury criticism, digs at McGregor 

Gabriel Monteiro

Almost two months of silence have passed since José Aldo’s loss to Max Holloway at UFC 212 on June 3. But after a resting period the now ex-champion grants himself after every fight to heal up nagging injuries, Aldo is already back in the gym. His return to the Octagon, he said, is only a matter of time.

With two defeats in his last three fights, Aldo is aware that he’ll have to put his nose to the grindstone if he wants to get back to the title he held twice in the UFC. Still, the Brazilian seems excited about the state of the featherweight division and is willing to get back to work in order to get back his belt.

“I’m sure [Frankie] Edgar [will be the next challenger for Holloway], they’ll be fighting in November”, Aldo suggested in an interview with AG. Fight. “I know Edgar will be the next challenger, I’m not thinking about being the champion [short term]. My plan is to start again, now that [Holloway’s] head is turned towards the next challenger, and then to fight for the belt again.

Next to fighting, Aldo is enjoying success as an entrepreneur, having opened two restaurants. Still, Aldo promises not to leave the focus on training aside. After all, according to “Junior”, his return to the Octagon will take place this year. That would mean two fights in six months for Aldo, a schedule he’s not had since 2013.

“We are already in contact [with the UFC]”, Aldo said. “I have returned to training, I am waiting for the time to fight again, but I can’t say anything until it’s finalized. I think it’s just [the choice of] Holloway, it’s not my choice [who I’ll fight]. It’s a matter of negotiation between Dedé [Pederneiras, Aldo’s head coach] with the UFC. At the latest, I’ll fight in December, but if I can fight before in November [that would be even better].”

Thinking back to his crushing 2015 defeat to Conor McGregor, who took his featherweight title with a 13-second knockout at UFC 194, Aldo seems to be able to digest his second UFC defeat a lot better.

“It’s part of the game”, Aldo said about his UFC 212 technical knockout loss to Holloway that lost him his belt once again. “The sport is about winning and the positive result doesn’t always come in. It’s part [of it]. Now I’m thinking of fighting again. I don’t know the future, but I’m opening this new store, that’s worth a lot.”

Contrary to the months after his loss to McGregor, Aldo praised Holloway for his skills after he beat him.

“He is the true champion, he has his first defense to do. McGregor has never been a champion of anything, he has won the championship and then has left. A true champion has to defend [the belt]. I’m happy that Holloway is the champion, he’s a good guy who did it because he deserves to be where he is.”

Aldo also made it a point to rule out any misunderstandings that his camp made excuses for his loss when his head coach said that he had injured his leg before UFC 212 and wasn’t at a hundred percent for the title defense.

“Everyone has misinterpreted what he said. He said that in training I had injuries and I couldn’t train normally. But it’s the past.”

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