Anthony Pettis could finally square off with Jose Aldo next year, and the former lightweight champ still has a ton of respect for the latter, even though he was taken out by Conor McGregor.

This past weekend the UFC announced that Pettis will face Max Holloway for the interim 145 title at UFC 206, since Conor McGregor has “relinquished” the featherweight title. Aldo, who held the interim belt, is once again the undisputed champ. Whoever wins the December 10th scrap between Pettis and Holloway will face Aldo sometime next year.

The promotion held a media call in advance of  UFC 206, and while discussing Aldo, Pettis said this (quote via MMA

“For me, Jose Aldo is still Jose Aldo, man,” Pettis said. “Everybody loses. Even the greatest lose sometimes. Even after 13 seconds, what he did with Conor McGregor, he still has the history that had. He’s a dominant champ for a long time. It’s not like all of a sudden he sucks because he got knocked out by Conor McGregor.”

Yup. It’s pretty hard to accurately label someone as ‘sucking’, if they went 10 years without losing and defeated many of the planet’s best 145érs during that stretch. Aldo critics, however, have often cited the champ’s track record for injuries, and pulling out of fights as to why they believe the star’s legacy is somewhat tainted. But, if you’re an Aldo fan and or admirer, none of that really matters. What matters is his record: 26-2. Nine defenses of the WEC / UFC 145 belt.

UFC 206 will take place in Toronto, Ontario.