It's going to be a long time before fans see Jose Aldo competing in the UFC again. The longtime featherweight champion, who lost his belt on Dec. 12 when he was knocked out by Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds at UFC 194, took to social media on Wednesday to say he wouldn't fight again unless he got either a title fight or a rematch with McGregor.
Since McGregor is fighting Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 197 on March 5, neither of them will soon be available.
McGregor is expected to fight again on July 9 at UFC 200, and that could be the date for a rematch with Aldo. But the UFC has already promised the next featherweight title shot to Frankie Edgar after Edgar knocked out Chad Mendes in December.
But Aldo made no bones about his intention.
— Jose Aldo Junior (@josealdojunior) January 27, 2016
His point is, he'll fight McGregor whether or not there is a title or he'll fight the featherweight champion, whether it's McGregor or someone who defeats him. Other than that, he won't be in the cage any time soon.
UFC officials have a difficult decision to make, because both Aldo and Edgar have more than legitimate claims at the next shot at the featherweight belt. Edgar knocked out Chad Mendes in the first round of their Dec. 11 bout at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
After the fight, UFC president Dana White took to the podium to announce that Edgar would get the next shot at the featherweight title. At that point, Aldo and Mendes were scheduled to fight for the belt the next night at the MGM Grand in the main event of UFC 194.
But White, who is often reticent at news conferences to speak of upcoming matches, went ahead and committed to Edgar.
Frankie went right in there and started trading with him and knocked out a guy who has a great chin and is a big wrestler with big power. Nobody can deny Frankie any more. He looked amazing tonight and he’ll get whatever he wants.
Edgar heard that, and shortly after McGregor knocked out Aldo in just 13 seconds, Edgar took to the phones and began a campaign. He knew as well as anyone that Aldo would want the rematch and so he called around trying to strengthen his position.
He has a good argument, too: Since losing a close decision to Aldo in 2013, Edgar has won five in a row, reeling off wins over Charles Oliveira, B.J. Penn, Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber and Mendes.
Edgar's argument is that not only is he a former lightweight champion, but he continues to evolve as a fighter.
I feel like I'm still improving, still getting better and I have a lot more to give in this sport. I really want this title shot, because I nearly did it the last time [when he narrowly was beaten by Aldo] and I feel I could do it again. I don't want to do a vacant belt. Well, that would be second-best, but my thing is, I want to beat the guy who has the belt and who everyone thinks is best.
But Aldo has a very strong claim as well. He'd gone more than 10 years between defeats. He was the only featherweight champion in UFC history prior to losing to McGregor. He was regarded by many as the greatest fighter in the world at the time of their match at UFC 194.
As great as he is as a fighter, though, Aldo is that bad as a salesman. He does little to promote himself, which is OK when he's the champion and everyone has to come to him, but isn't so good when there are other fighters who can make a compelling case for themselves.
White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have a difficult decision to make. White joked to Yahoo Sports that if he chose Edgar, everyone in Brazil would be angry at him and that if he chose Aldo, everyone in New Jersey would be upset at him.
White told Yahoo Sports that he's probably learned his lesson and said he won't guarantee anyone title shots. He did the same in the summer, when he said that if Miesha Tate beat Jessica Eye, she'd get the next shot at the women's bantamweight title, then held by Ronda Rousey. Tate defeated Eye, but White changed his mind and gave the shot to Holly Holm.
It's a tough call, and someone is bound to be unhappy. But Aldo stated his case forcefully on Wednesday.
If it were up to you, how would you handle the situation? Let us know in the comments section.