Jose Aldo has been promised a rematch with Conor McGregor, but the former UFC featherweight champion isn’t certain he’ll get a chance to avenge his shocking UFC 194 loss. Aldo became the No.1 contender for McGregor’s belt by defeating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, but there is no guarantee that the Irish fighter will ever come back to the 145-pound division.
McGregor needed just 13 seconds to knock out Aldo in December and take the title that the Brazilian fighter had held for five years. But after moving up to 170 pounds for a fight with Nate Diaz, which he lost at UFC 196, McGregor will remain at welterweight to face Diaz at UFC 202. If McGregor wins on Aug. 20, Aldo fears that he’ll need to find a new opponent.
“If he (McGregor) wins, I think they will do a third fight between them and ruin all my plans," Aldo told the media in Rio de Janeiro.
"No, no. He has to lose. Otherwise, they will do a third fight. I’m rooting for him to lose, of course. If he wins, they will do another rematch with Nate, and that’s bad. He has to lose. He has to lose. He will lose."
McGregor has admitted that he believes he’ll eventually get a third fight against Diaz, though he’s also stated he’ll return to 145 pounds to defend his featherweight title. The sport’s most popular fighter has been the champ for over seven months without a title defense, and he’ll be forced to drop the belt if he doesn’t face Aldo soon.
Aldo earned another shot at McGregor when he became the interim featherweight champ, though he told International Business Times in April that he should have gotten an immediate rematch. Before McGregor won the belt with a left hand to Aldo’s jaw, Aldo was the most dominant featherweight in UFC history. He was the only fighter to ever hold the company’s 145-pound belt, successfully defending it seven times.
McGregor won’t get a third shot at Diaz if he can’t win at UFC 202, and Aldo is banking on another Diaz victory.
"If I had to bet, it would be Nate again," he said. "From what I saw he’s way bigger, stronger, and he’s training. He got that fight on short notice and still was able to win. Well trained, it’s really hard for McGregor. If you look at (Diaz’s) fights, even when he’s getting beat, he finds a way to come back. If I had to bet, it would be Nate."
Assuming McGregor-Diaz II plays out the way Aldo has predicted, a rematch of UFC 194’s main event could come 11 months later. Aldo believes he’ll get his shot against McGregor late in 2016 when mixed martial arts comes to New York City.
"If he loses (to Diaz), it’s highly likely that they put us to fight on November 12, at Madison Square Garden,” Aldo said. “The Irish community is big over there."
Edgar is looking to fight at UFC 205, as well, after losing to Aldo on July 9. There’s been speculation that Ronda Rousey could make her return at Madison Square Garden, but she might not fight again until 2017.