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'I wanted to slap Conor myself' - Even Jose Aldo's translator fancies a crack at McGregor

Better call Saul.

Jose Aldo (left) and Saul Almeida (right) trained together during the recent UFC 189 media world tour.
Jose Aldo (left) and Saul Almeida (right) trained together during the recent UFC 189 media world tour.
Image: Instagram

CONOR McGREGOR CLEARLY got under Jose Aldo’s skin during their recent UFC 189 promotional push, but it wasn’t just the UFC featherweight champion who had his patience tested by the brash Dubliner.

Saul Almeida, Aldo’s translator for the event, became a relatively familiar face for a few days during the media world tour, which ramped up the hype ahead of the clash of McGregor and Aldo in Las Vegas on 11 July.

Almeida isn’t just a translator, however. With a 17-5 record, he’s also an MMA fighter himself, and at a pretty high level too. The 25-year-old has competed on four occasions for Bellator — which is generally regarded as the largest MMA organisation outside the UFC — and his next bout is this Friday in Connecticut for the World Series of Fighting.

Born in Brazil, Almeida has lived in Boston since the age of 8. He had been friendly with Jose Aldo in the past, so when the UFC champion arrived in Beantown for the next leg of the UFC 189 media tour on 25 March, he asked Almeida to take over as his translator.

Almeida agreed, and — over the course of the next week — ended up accompanying Aldo to New York, Toronto, London and Dublin, where the tour reached quite a colourful finale.

“It was crazy,” he told MMAFighting.com’s Chuck Mindenhall. “It was awesome. We got to travel. We forgot about time and where we were. We just lived in the moment every day. Every step of the way it was crazy. The fans were crazy. You just had to deal with it, but it was definitely fun. Aldo enjoyed it too.”

McGregor antagonised Aldo several times during the media tour, particularly when he reached over and grabbed the champion’s UFC belt in front of a vocal Dublin crowd at the Convention Centre. And Almeida regrets not being able to prevent it.

Conor McGregor Jose Aldo, Saul Almeida, UFC president Dana White, and Conor McGregor in Dublin. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

He said: “I wanted to go and slap Conor myself. Maybe one day. When he snatched [Aldo’s] belt [in Dublin] I should have been quicker. When he went for it, I should have grabbed it and kept it.”

Aldo came in for some over-the-top verbal abuse from a section of McGregor’s fans in Dublin, and Almeida admitted that he didn’t pass on every message to his fellow Brazilian.

“Some things I didn’t translate to him, I didn’t pass it down. I told him the important stuff. When somebody is yelling, ‘Hey Aldo, I got something for you… you’re a bitch, you’re a pussy,’ I’m not going to turn to him and tell him that. That’s the greatest featherweight of all time. You can’t be disrespectful like that.

“He doesn’t know what they’re saying, so I just don’t pass it down. He would tell me what he wanted to get across, what he wanted to say and I would. That’s it.”

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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