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Conor McGregor doesn’t understand why ‘real fighter’ Jose Aldo retired

The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Faber Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Conor McGregor may have spent years harassing Jose Aldo before their eventual UFC featherweight title fight, but “Notorious” remains one of Aldo’s biggest fans.

The rivalry between McGregor and Aldo is one of the most storied feuds in all of mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Mostly due to McGregor’s trash talking and personal attacks on Aldo, the two featherweights were set on a collision course that came to fruition at UFC 194 back in 2015. McGregor infamously stopped Aldo with a 13-second knockout to claim the undisputed UFC featherweight title.

While many would have liked to see a rematch between the two fighters it simply never happened. McGregor left the 145-pound division behind to chase additional UFC titles and a massive boxing superfight, while Aldo fought at featherweight a few more years before dropping down to bantamweight and making another run at UFC gold.

Aldo, who is widely regarded as one of the best featherweights of all time, announced his UFC retirement back in September 2022. The veteran fighter has been competing inside of the boxing ring ever since, but his MMA career appears to be a thing of the past.

“Why did he retire? Was he not scheduled to fight again? I thought he was making roads towards that 135-pound title,” said McGregor during a recent interview with UFC’s Megan Olivi. “And then he went to boxing and all. I don’t know, whatever the reason is, all the respect to him. A real fighter, multiple divisions, world title winner, and contender and been around so long. All power to him, I wish him all the best.”

McGregor, who is plotting his own return to UFC after a two-year hiatus, is the biggest star the sport has even seen and his rivalry with Aldo is a big reason why. Luckily, McGregor was able to capitalize on his 2015 meeting with Aldo, but the Irishman holds no bad blood moving forward.

“That is the way it should be over time,” McGregor said. “You show up to fight, and you get my respect.”

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