Once word got out that Jose Aldo had sustained a rib injury, most people understood the fight was in jeopardy, but, there was some who though he might still fight because of the cash involved. Well, following the news that the featherweight champ has withdrawn from his July 11th bout with Conor McGregor, Aldo has relayed that his legacy, and not money, is what matters most.
In a lengthy statement explaining his decision to drop out of UFC 189, Aldo said the following (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
My decision was made in respect to the UFC and the fans that today see me as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I couldn’t fight without being 100 percent physically and with a rib injury that could get worse if I got hit in the ribs. Many people told me to fight anyway because of the money I could make, but I wouldn’t sell myself for any money, no matter how much. I fight for love and I do it for my country. Money comes in second place, it’s like a shadow: when you try catching it, you can’t, but when you move forward, it follows you. Money ends some day, but legacy and things you do becomes part of the history, and that’s what I value the most
This is completely understandable and admirable. Although sure, Aldo could have fought McGregor and then asked for an immediate rematch if he lost and made a second pile of cash, but when you’re considered the greatest featherweight ever, protecting that legacy is pretty important.
Aldo had a lot to say in the statement, including the fact he disagrees with the UFC’s decision to put up an interim title at the event. Aldo also noted that he has the medical proof to show his ribs are fractured (you can see the pics by clicking here).
The renowned fighter also didn’t waste the opportunity to take a shot at his rival McGregor, who has accused Aldo of “running” from the bout.
As of my opponent, who told me to step up and fight like a man, I can’t say anything about a man that imitates a TV series character (Travis Fimmel, from Vikings). That’s really who he wanted to be, because he’s probably ashamed of being who he really is, so he imitates his lines, his style and this actor’s tattoos. He’s an artist, but not from martial arts, but cheap comedy. It’s disrespectful with the actor, and with real athletes. He should look for a stage and not an Octagon. The Octagon is my kingdom and there’s place for only one king, which is me. If he wants to participate, he can be the joker he already is.
If he beats Chad Mendes, the only thing he will have is a toy belt to show his drunk friends in his country’s bars, because that’s what an interim belt represents to me: a toy. I am the champion.
And there you have it. Clearly Aldo hasn’t changed his opinion of McGregor in the last couple of weeks…
UFC 189 will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.