The UFC made the eyebrow raising decision to strip Conor McGregor of his featherweight belt on Saturday night, handing the status of champion to Jose Aldo and making Max Holloway versus Anthony Pettis on December 10th an interim featherweight title fight. McGregor still hasn’t responded to the news that he ‘relinquished’ his belt, but new champ Jose Aldo has.
If there’s one positive thing about this entire mess, it’s that Aldo seems happy and willing to fight again now that he has the real 145 pound title.
“It was a matter of time. It’s not the way I wanted, but I’m happy because I know I’m the champion,” he said in an interview with Planeta SporTV. “First I want to defend my title, and then go after a fight with [McGregor] (at lightweight). Just like Dana said, we can choose who we want to fight, so I want to fight him. That’s what will happen.”
As for whether he has a preference as to who he’ll face in his first defense, Aldo seemed cool either way.
“I don’t see any problem,” he said. “I’ll be prepared for whoever wins. Pettis has a bigger name of course, he was a champion before, so it would be a bigger fight. But if it’s the other one, no problem, I’ll win no matter what.”
Beyond the stripping of Conor McGregor and the interim title silliness, it’s nice to hear that the featherweight division is returning to a certain amount of normalcy. While it’s been fun watching Conor McGregor shop around for the biggest fight he can find, the UFC has always been about the best fighting the best. At this point it will almost be a breath of fresh air to see the #1 contender at 145 pounds challenge for the belt.
So as crazy as the UFC’s behavior has been over the past few days, there is an eventual method to their madness. With Hurricane McGregor gone for the next several months, it’s time for them to start cleaning things up. They may have botched the belt transfer, but in a few months this will all be just a memory and the featherweight division will be back on track. The only question: did the UFC just piss off their biggest star to do it?