Jose Aldo was the only featherweight champion the UFC had known until a counter left hook from Conor McGregor knocked him cold just 13 seconds into their title bout in the main event of UFC 194 in December.
Despite no longer having the belt, Aldo insists he still feels like he is the champion and is fine with facing Frankie Edgar for the interim title at UFC 200 on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The UFC announced on Wednesday that McGregor would rematch Nate Diaz, who submitted him in the second round on March 5 at UFC 196, in a welterweight bout in the main event of UFC 200. At the same time, it announced that Aldo and Edgar would fight a rematch of their outstanding bout from UFC 156 in 2013 for the interim title.
UFC president Dana White said that win, lose or draw against Diaz, McGregor would fight an immediate rematch against the Aldo-Edgar winner for the full featherweight title.
Aldo told Yahoo Sports Friday that "I definitely wanted to fight for the title," and though it wasn't the way he planned it, he's fine with how it's turned out.
He mocked McGregor when McGregor knocked out Chad Mendes at UFC 189 in July to become the interim champion, but said he didn't see any similarities between his situation and McGregor's in that regard.
"I still feel like I'm the champ," Aldo said. "It was a lucky shot that connected and I'm still the champ. Right now, this fight [between Edgar and myself] that is happening, I feel it makes both parties happy. They're giving me the shot [at the interim title] and they're giving him the rematch with Diaz. Being interim, it means there's just one more thing I have to do on the way to regaining the title."
Aldo sent out a tweet not long after McGregor lost to Diaz that was interpreted by many, including McGregor, as Aldo celebrating Diaz's win. McGregor clearly wasn't pleased by that and told Yahoo Sports, "That's the sign of a loser."
Aldo denied Friday that he was celebrating McGregor's loss and said it was just an acknowledgement of what he felt was inevitable.
"I knew that was what was going to happen," Aldo said of Diaz's second-round submission victory. "That's what happens when you go up two weight classes and you fight a guy who is bigger than you and better than you. It was inevitable. He should stay in the lighter weight division if he wants to win anything. But I wasn't celebrating. I just knew he was going to lose. Diaz is better than him and they fought at a higher weight. Of course I knew Diaz would win."
Aldo also concurred with Diaz's opinion that McGregor is coddled by UFC management and gets preferential treatment.
"It's not that I feel the same way as [Diaz] does, because it's just the truth," Aldo said. "That's what is going on. I guess they think McGregor brings them a good return, but they're treating him very differently. But to me, it doesn't matter. I'm doing my own thing and I'll get the title back."