Welcome to Midnight Mania! Tonight, we will take a look at the head-scratching interview Ariel Helwani conducted with Featherweight champion Jose Aldo for MMA Fighting, dissect it a bit, and of course provide you with the selection of knockouts, clips and random awesomeness you can expect from this column, including Floyd Mayweather Sr. dismissing McGregor, John Dodson getting excited, Sage and the Diaz brothers, and more.
Ah, “Scarface.” What can I say? The cognitive dissonance in your mental process is horrifyingly bizarre.
Anyway, let’s run through it:
Aldo: I just want to say, any time I've been asked to fight by UFC, I never turned it down. I've been asked to fight when my wife was pregnant or when we had a newborn at home. When I fought Frankie Edgar, she was pregnant, when I fought Chad Mendes, she was either pregnant or we had a newborn. I had a lot of stuff in my family going on, and that has never been a reason to not take fights. You can ask anyone. You can ask [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby. When I've been asked to fight, I take it.
What about before UFC 196 against Conor McGregor after Rafael dos Anjos got injured?
No, I didn't turn that down. [My coach] Andre Pederneiras turned down that fight and wouldn't let me take it. I've never personally turned down any fights.
Does it bother you when you hear Conor saying he's still the real champion and never agreed to give up the title? And, do you think because he's so popular that fans won't view your belt as the real one if he continues to say that?
First of all, I never stopped being the champion. When I lost to Conor he should have rematched me right away. Like I've always said and done, the champion is the guy who defends the belt against all challengers. Guys who run from title defenses are not champions. All Conor did was he beat the champion. But, he never did what he had to do to become the champion. He's never been the champion of the featherweight division.
The stories fighters tell themselves after devastating losses have always fascinated me. Fighters are eternal optimists, which means their attributions for failure are usually external to themselves, variable to the loss, and specific, so that they can be fixed. They do vary on a spectrum between accepting full responsibility, claiming some injury affected them, simply saying the other fighter was the better man “that night,” explaining away the loss as a fluke. And, finally, claiming that they actually won somehow and were robbed.
Aldo has gone with some variation of “I got caught,” dismissing his loss as a fluke, but in addition, he has to justify being the current champion in his mind. To do this, he has decided that the only way to truly be a champion is to be willing to defend it against all comers. With this convenient definition, McGregor was never the 145-pound champion, because he didn’t defend his title.
Will you at peace with your career if you never get to fight Conor again?
Yeah, I'd have peace. No problem. I'm an athlete, so of course, it would be nice to have the rematch, but it's not something that would take away my peace. I think there's only one thing that would take away my peace and that's if I wasn't the champion. My objective since i started my career was: become the champion, remain the champion, retire the champion.
Okay, so far so bad. Then, he drops this bombshell he drops about current negotiations:
So, in the end, do you think you will fight Max Holloway in Brooklyn on Feb. 11?
No, the Brooklyn fight is not happening. I now expect and believe I will be fighting in early March. Either March 3 or March 4, I can't remember. I believe they will soon announce an interim lightweight title fight with me. They've been trying to find me an opponent, and -- surprise, surprise -- at least one has already turned down the fight against me. I'm waiting to see who they will find.
This is really interesting because it implies, firstly, that UFC isn’t all that interested in either Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmagomedov, the two 155-pound badasses who by all rights should be fighting for the Lightweight (not interim) title. Perhaps they are using Aldo the way they used Nurmagomedov before UFC 205, taking the lowest bidder for the fight. Ferguson looks like he wants to get paid ...
... which could mean he might be the guy left out in the cold when all is said and done. He’s a dangerous fight for anyone and a lesser draw than either Nurmagomedov or Nate Diaz, meaning the promotional interests lie in keeping him away from the high value asset that is McGregor.
Moreover, it implies yet another fighter jumping the queue for a made-up belt, which could mean that Max Holloway might be left in the cold, too. Aldo had just gotten finished saying McGregor was never the Featherweight champion because champions defend their belts, and also saying he would be happy never fighting McGregor again, just as long as he is the champion ... and then he turns around and says he’s going to fight for the interim Lightweight belt? What gives, man? Not only does that give the lie to you being happy with being champion, because the only reason to go up in weight is to chase McGregor, but it also means that you won’t be defending your title against Holloway, which is what you said defined a champion.
But, who is this unnamed person that turned down the fight with Aldo?
Wow. I didn't expect that. Who turned it down?
You gotta ask the UFC that. They've asked me not to say anything. I won’t say who it is because it’s a surprise. A guy we never thought would turn it down turned it down, because his father didn’t think it was good. I'm tired of people turning down fights. I want to put some pressure so they'll take the fight.
It’s a surprise? A surprise for who and when? If you wanted to put pressure on someone, then why not say his name publicly?
To me, mentioning the father is a dead giveaway. Whose father is heavily involved with their career like that, and also in the 155-pound title picture? If the story is true, it can only mean one person: Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"His father didn't think it was a good idea, also he wrestles bears and wears a stupid blonde wig, but I can't tell you who it is." pic.twitter.com/2fdkRtyzg6— The Naked Gambler (@NakedGambling) December 21, 2016
Now, I’ll be honest: I don’t know how much Aldo really knows here. He isn’t a master of this game the way McGregor is or even a savvy player like Diaz. If you read the full text of the interview, it is clear Aldo does not view negotiations the same way, isn’t always fed accurate information by UFC brass, and doesn’t seem to grasp the reason(s) McGregor wouldn’t want a rematch with him.
But, if the mystery fight is made — and that’s a big “if” — I would still watch the heck out of it. Aldo vs. Nurmagomedov, in particular, is my dream match up. The best wrestler-grappler in UFC against the best anti-wrestler in UFC? Yeah, would watch ... 100 percent. Of course, if it was Ferguson, I would also watch, and it would be madness for entirely different reasons.
I am extremely skeptical. But, I am willing to wait and see ... I guess.
Bobs and Weaves
Floyd Mayweather Sr. is not impressed with “Mystic Mac.”
Reunited and it feels so good — John Dodson is one happy guy!
Slips, Rips and Sick Clips
Look for more on their Twitter page. Some of them are pretty awesome.
And now, for something completely different ...
Salaryman Shibataro is always the entertainer pic.twitter.com/q8v6BkgcZ7— MEGATON (@BasedDongeezus) December 20, 2016
This is from a promotion called ZST, which is apparently the most campy MMA promotion of all time.
The Internet had some fun with that picture of Sage Northcutt hanging out with the Diaz brothers.
You got to be a real one Son.. #recoveryandconditioningcoach #mediceneman #teamdiaz #wardiaz LOYALTY BEFORE ROYALTY ✌ ️#ufc #ninjarecovery ✌ ️#bbj #represent #hemp2o #ziggyssmokedepot #compexusa #recoverypump #bbj_recovery #ufc #mma #fighter #bodybuilding #flex #champion #training #muscle #strength #martialarts #swole #gainz #shredded #nickdiazacademy bodybyjose
I don’t know what fighter this is or what Bruce Buffer is promoting here. I only know that this is an epic picture.
It looks like this fighter is levitating in from outer space for this fight.
UFC did a piss-poor job promoting Amanda Nunes for that fight that you might have heard about against Ronda Rousey, so she posted her own video to get the point across.
UFC heard the message(s) loud and clear, posting its own social media video that touted Nunes:
In case y’all forgot: Nate Diaz is for real!
Gegard Mousasi called out Chris Weidman, claiming the deal is already done on his end.
- Nurmagomedov said he had to calm down a drunken man in a store by telling him he could break his face. I would have calmed down.
- My man “Naked Gambler” wrote a great piece about where Sage and Paige stand now.
- A lot of people watched UFC on FOX 22 ... like A LOT.
- Mark Hunt is back, baby! ... with one small catch.
They put “Dancing Crowd Lady” in their halftime show! The Internet Age is glorious indeed.
Stay woke, Maniacs.
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