Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Jose Aldo has labelled Conor McGregor "two-faced" and a "clown" and admitted that he is ready for a rematch any time the Irishman agrees to fight him.
Aldo was reinstated as the UFC featherweight champion earlier this month after Conor McGregor, who became the division's first two-weight title holder following his lightweight title win over Eddie Alvarez, was stripped of the belt for his inactivity in the weight class. The Brazilian fighter was the previous champion but lost his title when he was knocked out by the Irishman 13 seconds into the first round 12 months ago.
Despite being beaten by McGregor, the reigning champion has made it clear that 'the Notorious' was never a true champion owing to him not defending his title even once in the 12-month period. Aldo was offered an opportunity to fight McGregor at UFC 196, but turned it down. However, he clarified during the interview that it was his coach who turned down the fight, as he is incapable of turning down an opportunity to compete in the octagon.
"No, I didn't turn that down. [My coach] Andre Pederneiras turned down that fight and wouldn't let me take it. I've never personally turned down any fights," Aldo said in an exclusive interview with mmafighting.com
"The UFC can't put together a match-up if fighters are turning down fights. But I just want to be very clear: Me, Jose Aldo, I don't turn down fights. I don't turn down opponents. I don't choose opponents.
"First of all, I never stopped being the champion. When I lost to Conor, he should have rematched me right away. Like I've always said and done, the champion is the guy who defends the belt against all challengers. Guys who run from title defenses are not champions. All Conor did was he beat the champion. But he never did what he had to do to become the champion. He's never been the champion of the featherweight division," the reigning 145lb champion explained.
Aldo is open for a re-match with McGregor but made it clear that he will not be frustrated even if it does not happen in the future. The featherweight champion also revealed that the Irishman picks and chooses his opponents, and that despite Dana White trying to engineer a fight between the two, McGregor turned it down.
"He's two-faced. He says a lot of stuff to the press, but behind-the-scenes, he turns down fights left and right. He picks opponents, he picks events. I'm an athlete, so of course, it would be nice to have the rematch, but it's not something that would take away my peace," he added.
"The first thing we did after my fight with McGregor was ask for the rematch, and it should have happened. We've tried to make that fight a lot of times, as has the UFC.
"When I sat down with Dana, and explained to him all the reasons why I was frustrated as a fighter, he said to me, 'I've tried to make the fight. [Conor] doesn't want to fight you. I can't force [Conor] to fight you. You and I, Jose, we want this rematch to happen. But he's not saying yes.' We've been trying, but the problem isn't on my side of the equation", he continued.
"The bottom line is Conor doesn't want to fight me. There's nothing else I can do. I don't think there's anything else the UFC can do. If he keeps saying no and keeps running away, he's going to keep running away. He's a clown."