UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo will not be competing at UFC 208 against Max Holloway or any other fighter for that matter, as he is now claiming that at UFC 209 in March, he will fight a yet to be named opponent for the UFC Interim Lightweight Title.
“I believe they will soon announce an interim lightweight title fight with me. They've been trying to find me an opponent, and — surprise, surprise — at least one has already turned down the fight against me. I'm waiting to see who they will find. They've asked me not to say anything. I won’t say who it is because it’s a surprise. A guy we never thought would turn it down turned it down, because his father didn’t think it was good. I'm tired of people turning down fights. I want to put some pressure so they'll take the fight,” Aldo said to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
The statement implies that the person in question is Khabib Nurmagomedov, whose father often comments on his son's career path.
Current UFC Interim Featherweight Title holder Max Holloway, who just won the belt back at UFC 206 over former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, was the first to respond to the news.
So Waldo is now saying he always shows up and me and Conor are two faced and Khabib won’t fight him. #nowayjose— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 21, 2016
Issue w Waldo is not about turning down fights. its that he doesn’t actually show up #noShowseAldo— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 21, 2016
Wherever Waldo is hiding, they must not have internet https://t.co/Fxz39MQdZH— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 21, 2016
Not to be outdone, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is currently ranked #1 in the lightweight division, issued a statement of his own via Instagram:
Aldo says, referring to me, that I refused to fight with him. Tell him that I do not bully the little. I want a real battle, and only Tony can give it to me. At this stage of my career, even if I win Daniel Cormier, fans will say that I have to fight with Tony, and I agree with them. I have spent my career in the UFC asking for the strongest opponents, currently in this division we must decide who is stronger, me or Tony? Without exception, all the fans and experts want to see this fight and I want to give it to them. And you, Aldo, I advise you not to lose the respect of your fans, including me, do not lose your head, do not fall for the mind games of the UFC, and be yourself. Альдо говорит намекая на меня, что я отказался от боя с ним. Передайте ему, что я маленьких не обижаю. Я хочу реальный бой, и это Тони. На данном этапе моей карьеры если даже я выиграю Даниеля Кормье, фанаты будут говорить, что мне надо подраться с Тони, и я с ними согласен. Я всю свою карьеру в UFC прошу самых сильных соперников, в данный момент в легком весе мне и Тони надо определиться, кто сильнее, я первый номер в рейтинге а Тони второй. Без исключения все фанаты и специалисты хотят этого боя, и я хочу подарить им это. А тебе Альдо я советую не терять уважение от своих фанатов, и в том числе от меня, не теряй голову, не подставляйся под игры UFC, и будь собой. #юфсишныеигрыопятьвтеме @ufc
UFC 209 is taking place on Saturday, March 4 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with no headliners announced as of yet.