At a press conference for his upcoming fight against Holloway in UFC 212, Aldo says he is now willing to trash talk his opponents.
I think that this rivalry [with Holloway] 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. What drives this [sport] today is money, and that’s super normal to me now. I made a lot of money [against McGregor], 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.
Holloway says he wants to meet McGregor for a second time (he previously lost to McGregor in 2103) if he ever decides to return to 145-pounds one day.
The thing I always get hit with. Talking about this being a fake belt and the real champion beat both of these guys. I always say forget past tense, ask your boy how we match up now. His coaches believe I’m at the best at 145. His team believes I’m the best at 145. His fans know I’m the biggest threat to him at 145 or even in the whole UFC. So at the end of the day, I made no excuses. I’m not proud of the loss but get your facts your straight. Somebody got hurt in the first 30 seconds and somebody else got hurt in the last 30 seconds of the second round. I’m not trying to defend a loss. A loss is a loss but if you’re going to come and attack me, get your facts straight. Don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife.
Also vs Holloway will take place at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Holloway says he is taking some time off to appear in Den of Thieves, a film about a group of bank robbers in Los Angeles on the run from the LAPD. It’ll be Holloway’s first movie role, and he’ll be playing one of the robbers.
I hope [the Aldo fight will happen], I hope so. You know, old boy’s taking so long that I had to take something else. I’m going to be shooting a movie now, so we’ll see what happens.
In response to McGregor’s comment, at RTE’s Sportsperson of the Year awards, that he destroyed his opponents
I’m still the two-weight world champion. Make no mistake about that. They can say what they want. They can try to get phoney belts and hand them out to people that I’ve already destroyed.
Accepted accepts Holloway’s challenge from the ring, where he called him ‘Waldo’:
He’s saying ‘where’s Aldo?’, you have to talk to the UFC. About the fight in February, I already knew that, I only didn’t know who I would fight. It was between him and Pettis, whoever won the fight. It’s not something new. This fight will happen on February. 11.
But now Holloway now appears not to be so sure:
It’s news to me. I guess we found where Waldo is so I’m glad. It’s time to see what happens. We’re going to talk to the UFC, see what UFC says or see if he’s just trying to [expletive] start some shit. Like I said, I’m not planning on giving up Christmas and my son’s birthday for something that’s going to be booked and Feb. 11 comes up and we’re going to be [expletive] looking at where’s Jose Waldo. That guy is crazy. I just looked and it’s eight weeks out already. That’s why that motherf-cker wants to fight. He wants me to be all drained out from two training camps in a row but that shit ain’t going to happen.
After his win over Anthony Pettis, Holloway calls out McGregor,even though his next fight will be with Jose Aldo.
I ain’t over here begging for fights. If that guy wants to fight me, he can come fight me. Conor’s coach even said I’m the best 145’er in the world. I ain’t going to beg. We’ve got so [many] guys on their knees begging to fight him. If he wants to fight me, he can come see me. If he wants to fight the best, you come fight ‘Blessed’.
Holloway beats Pettis with a TKO in the interim featherweight title fight in the night’s main event at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Holloway stopped Pettis at the 4:50 mark of the third round. Holloway:
We’re trying to fight (Jose) Aldo, so I thought I’d call him Waldo – Jose Waldo. Hashtag Jose Waldo, and tell him meet me in Brooklyn in February. Let’s get the real one!
Pettis says that Holloway is even less than a match for him than McGregor.
I see Max as a younger version of myself; raw, natural talent and he definitely wants it bad. But I got the skill set to beat the guy with the striking and I got the power and size on him. The only other striker he fought of my caliber is Conor McGregor, and you saw how that went down. I feel like I have way more tools than Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor has a big left hand and some decent kicks. I have submissions, wrestling, I have everything; I’m the complete package. Now I have the size, so it’s a great weight class for me.
Holloway, who took McGregor to the distance in his second UFC fight, says ‘the real fans’ say he’s the real fight to make against McGregor.
Conor McGregor couldn’t finish me in a thousand years..and the hard core fans of the sport they know what the real fight is for Conor. It’s me, but first things first. He’s going to become a dad, so congrats for that. I got some business on December 10, with Anthony Pettis. I got to get through that guy first.
Despite his loss to McGregor in 2013, Holloway says he bears no grudge against the Irishman.
Everybody hates on this guy. For what? If you had this opportunity, you know damn straight that you’d take it. If I had the opportunity, yes, it’s history. I want to break history. Conor McGregor set this bar and I’m trying to break it. If you’re not trying to break it, then why are you in the game?…Conor’s special, you can’t hate on the guy. If everyone could do it, then everyone would be doing it. It took him, you don’t understand, you have to find your niche. I’m finding mine. I’m me. I have to be the real Max Holloway, this is the real guy sitting right in front of you guys. Real, honest, what you see is what you get. If you like it great, if you don’t like it, great, at the end of the day you buy the pay-per-view and I’m getting money and that’s it, thank you.
On The MMA Hour Helwani criticises the UFC’s handling of the removal of McGregor’s belt.
They botched it. They botched it epically. They botched it because if you’re going to go ahead and strip Conor, then Holloway /Pettis needs to be for the real belt, and you say to Jose Aldo that you’re getting the first crack at the champion of this interim title, you’ve been talking about retirement, you’ve been talking about not fighting again, you’ve been talking about throwing fights, we don’t know the state of your career is, so we’re making Holloway/Pettis the real championship fight, because we just stripped the biggest draw and the biggest star of his belt. It’s a disservice to Holloway and Pettis, who are going to have an amazing fight in a couple of weeks, it’s a disservice to Jose Aldo, and it’s a disservice to Conor McGregor.
Helwani reports that the UFC wants Pettis to fight Holloway for the interim 145 pound title in December in Toronto. This would be the main card fight after the Daniel Cornier-Anthony Johnson fight was cancelled due to injury. This means that the organisation will strip McGregor of his featherweight belt, reinstating it to Jose Aldo.