Jose Aldo walked out of a meeting with UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Sean Shelby on Wednesday feeling as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.
No, it wasn't because he had been let out of his contract. It also wasn't because the UFC cut a special deal with him or offered him a fight. It was because Aldo finally got to say what he wanted to say to his bosses without having anyone in the middle mucking the water.
“It was a good conversation. It went exactly as expected,” Aldo told reporters after the meeting. “I want to thank Dana. I want to thank Sean Shelby.”
Aldo had wanted the meeting to explain where his head was, how he was feeling about his career and the direction of the company that he had been a part of for so long. In a recent meeting with reporters in Brazil, Aldo said that he had been contemplating his career ever since losing the UFC featherweight title to Conor McGregor late last year.
McGregor knocked him out in 13 seconds, taking the belt that only Aldo had ever held. He had worn the featherweight strap for more than three years in the UFC, and for several years prior to that in the WEC. Yet, he wasn't granted an immediate rematch.
Since then, Aldo has been contemplating his motivation to continue fighting. His thoughts spilled into public recently when he asked the UFC to release him from his contract. That, however, wasn't specifically what he went to Las Vegas for on Wednesday.
“I didn't come here just wanting to cancel my contract or to be released. I came here because I had a lot on my chest,” he said. “I had a lot of things I wanted to say and I thought saying them in person was the professional approach and the proper approach to take with them.”
Aldo indicated that he was able to do what he was there for. He got to express himself to White and Shelby without his feelings being misconstrued by the media. That doesn't mean that his feelings of lacking motivation to fight have subsided.
“If I had no contracts, if I had nothing binding me, nothing forcing my hand, I don't think I have the motivation to fight right now,” he said. “I don't think that's something that I'd be doing. Of course, I have a contract. I respect the obligations therein.”
While there had been reports indicating that he might be considering legal action to try and get out of his UFC contract, Aldo on Wednesday said that wasn't so. “There's no reason to do that. I'm not that kind of guy, I'm a man.”
Though he said he doesn't currently feel like he would be fighting if not contractually obligated, he didn't exactly say he wouldn't fight again either, which sounds light years away from his public standing just a week ago. But as Aldo said, he felt his meeting went well.
There has also been a lot of movement from the UFC's new ownership, as they laid off numerous employees on Tuesday and Wednesday, signaling that the status quo wouldn't remain. Perhaps those moves also influenced the way Aldo is thinking about his future with the fight promotion.
“Today was just a first conversation, we might be headed down a better path,” he said. “There's a lot of transitions happening in the UFC. They are under new ownership. They're gonna have new ideas and priorities, new methodologies. We'll see what direction they want to take their business in and we'll see what that means for me.”