Aldo explains why he turned down a McGregor rematch this weekend

“Any professional needs time to train.”

Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

JOSE ALDO INSISTS that he does want an opportunity to avenge his defeat to Conor McGregor, but this Saturday just came a little too soon.

Aldo was the only featherweight champion in UFC history until this past December, when he was knocked out by McGregor in just 13 seconds at UFC 194.

The 29-year-old has been calling for a rematch ever since, claiming that he’d be willing to face the Irish star “any time, anywhere”.

The opportunity to do so arose for Aldo last week when an injury forced Rafael dos Anjos to withdraw from his bout against McGregor, which was scheduled for UFC 196 this Saturday.

The UFC offered Aldo the chance to replace his fellow Brazilian at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but he turned it down because he wasn’t prepared.

“Any professional needs time to train,” Aldo told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It’s not a cockfight where I go there and put my rooster in to fight. It’s a high-level sport, I’m going there to do my job. When I have time to train, it can happen at any time, anywhere.”

No announcement has yet been made regarding the next challenge for Aldo — who’s keen to feature at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on 9 July — but he’s adamant that the only fight that makes sense is a featherweight title bout.

The picture is currently unclear in the 145lbs division. McGregor may be the champion but as he prepares to face Nate Diaz this weekend at 170lbs, speculation is increasing that his time as a featherweight has come to an end. Frankie Edgar is also desperate for a shot at the 145lbs title.

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“I know I deserve an immediate rematch,” Aldo said. “People who say I don’t, I don’t care about them. What’s important is what the UFC think and what [my team] think. We came to the conclusion that we’re having an immediate rematch.”

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Paul Dollery

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