UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo thinks he’s superior to UFC 194 challenger Conor McGregor, and he can’t wait for his opportunity to prove that on Dec. 12.
The only official champion the division’s ever had in the UFC, Aldo said this weekend that he’s expecting the best version of McGregor, but that he’s even better prepared than he would have been at UFC 189.
“I expect the best,” Aldo said (transcribed by Vice’s Fightland). “We’re always well trained and focused. There’s a lot of talk, but I try to stay away from all of this. You have no idea how motivated I am. For the love of God, I can’t wait for this fight to happen so we can prove everything we say.
“We know how to deal with these things. The first time there was a heavier environment, but not anymore. We’re more focused, and I can say I’m way better prepared than the first time. We had enough time the last time, but it’s something new because he’s left handed, but not anymore. We’re well trained, I was already adapted from the first camp we did with him, and we also know how to deal with his trash talk. It’s way easier now.”
Aldo’s taking extra precautions to protect his ribs in training after an errant kick took him out of the first scheduled matchup with McGregor, and he doesn’t expect to have any issues in the final weeks before the fight.
“It’s a shirt that quarterbacks use to protect the ribs, so I’m using it in training,” Aldo said. “After that spinning back kick, the most expensive spinning back kick in history, we’re more protected now. You can hit me because there’s wood there to protect me so I won’t get hurt.”
Penick’s Analysis: It’s good that he’s making sure to keep himself safe in preparations, as a second late scratch would be devastating at this point. It’s easy to believe the extra time has been beneficial, though, and they have more video on McGregor with the Mendes fight in order to get more of a sense of what they’re facing. Aldo has had a fantastic run to date, and though McGregor looked great himself against Mendes in scoring that finish, there’s still not reason enough to believe he’ll be taking this fight on Dec. 12. If he proves Aldo and the doubters wrong, so be it, but Aldo’s held that spot for a reason, and it’s going to have to be taken from him forcefully.