Jose Aldo dominated the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight divisions for more than one decade, winning 15 consecutive matches en route to seemingly becoming the greatest 145-pound fighter of all time. Then, at UFC 194 back in Dec. 2015, Aldo ran face first into Conor McGregor’s wicked left hand and that dominant reign was all over in the blink of an eye — six years of brilliant mixed martial arts (MMA) work defined by 13 excruciating seconds.
Indeed, long-time UFC analyst Joe Rogan claimed that Aldo’s legacy would be “tarnished” by the loss to McGregor. He then doubled down on that bold statement this past weekend shortly after Aldo lost his Featherweight title to Max Holloway at UFC 212 via third round knockout (watch highlights here). He claims that McGregor, who was stripped of his 145-pound title that he never defended, is the division’s best-ever because he “murked” Aldo.
“I’ve got say Conor is the greatest 145-pounder of all time cause he knocked out Aldo, who was clearly the greatest,” Rogan said (via FOX Sports). “But, in terms of who’s got more victories of course it’s Aldo. The problem is — we’re not doing MMA math here — you’re having two guys actually fight each other.
“So if you said who is the greatest of all time?,” he continued. “Well it would have to be Aldo because he beat all these guys — no, no no, because the two of them fought and Conor murked him. So you’ve to give it to him. Otherwise there’s no other metric. There’s no other metric other than a knockout.”
McGregor has not competed at 145 pounds since his victory over Aldo, instead he chased back-to-back “money fights” against Nate Diaz and UFC history by becoming the promotion’s first and only “double champ” with a technical knockout win over then-Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez back in Nov. 2016. Now, “Notorious” is on the scent of a possibly $75 million payday to box Floyd Mayweather, which could possibly end his UFC run before the Irishman turns 30, according to company president Dana White.
So how can a fighter who has zero title defenses be considered the best ever? Rogan explained his thought process, but surely not many will agree with his position.
“People will fight against it,” Rogan said. “‘No because Aldo was the champion for so many years’. You’re 100 percent right. His body of work is much more impressive and there’s always going to be an asterisk next to Conor because that was just this one time he fought for the title at 145 [pounds], KO’d Aldo and was like ya’ll be cool. I’m out of here.
“[Conor Mcgregor] is the best ever,” he continued. “You have to say he’s the best ever even if he never fights featherweight again. Why? Because he KO’d the best ever.”
If McGregor returns to the Octagon, it would be very unlikely that he drops to 145 pounds again — his weight cuts were notoriously brutal. Hell, he might not even return to Lightweight, opting instead to chase the Welterweight crown. Anything is possible.