José Aldo made a rather surprising admission recently when he revealed that he now can appreciate the benefits of trash-talking in the modern-day UFC.
There are a lot of people within the UFC and the sport of MMA as a whole who claim to dislike or even hate the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor but I can guarantee you that there is no-one out there who holds a contempt for him that can match that of the UFC’s featherweight champion, José Aldo.
For nearly a year and two separate promotional tours, McGregor hounded the Brazilian with some of the most brutal trash-talking the sport of mixed martial arts has ever seen and when all the hype and buildup was finished and the pair finally stepped into the octagon at UFC 194 in 2015, the fight itself lasted all of thirteen seconds.
McGregor brought the 145lb belt home to Dublin and Aldo, despite an unbeaten run that lasted nearly ten years, was left embarrassed on the biggest stage of his career.
Now, after Aldo reclaimed the featherweight championship against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, he is set to make his first title defence against the division’s interim title-holder Max Holloway at UFC 212.
The pair took part in a media day in Brazil yesterday and surprisingly, Aldo used the opportunity to admit that he sees the benefit of his great Irish rival’s trash talk and how he is now in acceptance of the fact that the game is changing, whether he himself likes it or not (via MMAFighting.com).
“I think that this rivalry is great because it sells more and gives us money. We’re going through a new generation now that is completely different than when I started in the sport. When I started, athletes fought for honor, respect, philosophy. Today, it’s not a real fighter. It’s this joke. If you don’t talk, you fight for nothing, you’ll be left behind.
“Rankings mean nothing, you have to talk trash,” he continued. “What drives this (sport) today is money, and that’s super normal to me now. I made a lot of money [in the Conor-fight] and I’m thinking about it now. I think about continuing being champion and having my honor and respect, but it’s not worth being the good guy anymore. The thing is to talk trash. Talking makes the fight bigger. When the fight is over, everyone goes in opposite sides with money in the pocket. You have to talk trash because that brings money.”
It may not be a U-turn filled with praise and admiration for the Irish powerhouse but at least Aldo seems to be at peace with the direction that the world of mixed martial arts is heading in and can hopefully use that to his advantage in the future to earn himself a few more lucrative paydays before he calls it a day on his legendary career.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena