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Aldo’s Decision To Chase McGregor Is Shortsighted

As talk swirls around Conor McGregor being forced to give up the featherweight belt, Jose Aldo’s talk of fighting the Irishman at lightweight is even more ridiculous.

No doubt Aldo wants to avenge his only lost in the last 10 years, but to chase McGregor at a heavier weight seems like rage, or worse—desperation.

Giving up weight is a bad idea. Aldo’s true strengths lie in his speed and power. He has that advantage at featherweight, but at a larger weight he may give up one if not both tools.

If “Scarface” wants to get back at McGregor and redeem his loss, then he needs to play McGregor’s game. “The Notorious” has shown that fighting skills are only one part of a fighter’s arsenal. Now you have to be able to sell a fight long before you step into the cage. McGregor is great at trash-talking and building hype, but he can also back it up.

Aldo no doubt has the skills to back up any trash he talks, the problem is in the talking. He needs to be more vocal in the build to his fights. Maybe he could take a couple of lessons from the WWE about showmanship.

That’s not to say he has to turn into a total d-bag. But the quiet ones seldom get the respect they deserve.

The Aldo-McGregor story is similar to that of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Holyfield never had his due respects, despite being a long-reigning, three-time champion, until he fought Tyson and won. Aldo hasn’t been seen much as a champion. His loss has only pushed that image further away.

Aldo’s camp should be doing everything it can in getting him ready for the aftermath of the Anthoy Pettis-Max Holloway fight. By beating Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight belt at the time, and now becoming the champion with the opportunity to unify both belts either against Pettis or Holloway, Aldo will have to prove he’s a winner.

Winning, however, won’t be enough. As we’ve seen with McGregor since he’s come to the UFC it’s about how well you sell a fight and then back up all the trash you’ve thrown. If “Scarface” wishes to get back at McGregor then he has to beat him at his own game, just as McGregor did to Aldo.

Now is the time for Aldo to remind the MMA world why he was/is so important for the sport and for the UFC. If he puts on a lengthy winning streak and takes on more than two fights a year (McGregor has fought four times in 2016 alone), he will prove his worth again to Dana White. That’s not to say that White doesn’t respect Aldo, but it’s actions that speak volumes in this sport.

Being dominant in a division isn’t just about the number of fights a fighter wins anymore. Unfortunately the UFC has taken on more of a professional wrestling feel. Fighters with their loud mouths and antics are what drive up pay-per-view numbers and generate tweets. Some fighters have done it for years (middleweight champ Michael Bisping comes to mind) and fans eat it up. McGregor has taken it to a whole new level, and for Aldo to get a piece of him now, “Scarface” will have to go to a new level.

In the end it isn’t about chasing McGregor to the next weight class. It’s about doing enough to entice him to meet Aldo. McGregor wants to hold multiple belts and he may consider retaking the featherweight belt considering the way it was stripped from him. But he’s proven he can win at welterweight, too. And I’m sure McGregor is confident he could win the belt, although I’m not as confident as he is that he could beat Tyron Woodley.

If Aldo wants to redeem his loss he needs to step up his game in different ways. He has to redefine himself like Holyfield did. He has to play the game.

 

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