Aldo: UFC Offering Me Interim Lightweight Title Fight

Jose Aldo ends a tumultuous 2016 as the undisputed featherweight champion, but things could not be more different than they had been during his indomitable reign.

Aldo lost his belt to Conor McGregor last December, but the Irishman has now been stripped of his title due to his extended absence from the division. Aldo, the undisputed champion again, was expected to face newly crowned interim champion Max Holloway. The planned date was Feb. 11 at UFC 208 in Brooklyn. But Aldo no longer expects to fight on that date — or against that opponent.

After Aldo said that he would be fighting Holloway on Feb. 11, Holloway backtracked, saying that he didn’t want to miss out on the holidays and his son’s birthday. In an interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting, Aldo said he expects to fight in March instead.

“No, the Brooklyn fight is not happening. I now expect and believe I will be fighting in early March. Either March 3 or March 4, I can’t remember.”

That news wasn’t particularly surprising, but the details of Aldo’s next fight left many fans scratching their heads. In a proposed March bout, Aldo would not be facing Holloway to unify the featherweight belts — he may not be fighting at featherweight at all.

“I believe they will soon announce an interim lightweight title fight with me,” Aldo said. “They’ve been trying to find an opponent, and — surprise, surprise — at least one has already turned down the fight against me. I’ve been 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 fighting for an interim lightweight title, while being the recently promoted undisputed featherweight champion, is convoluted even by the UFC’s current standards.

McGregor recently won the lightweight title in November, which was part of the reason he was stripped of the featherweight title. He is taking a slight break from his usual level of activity as he expects his first child, but he has balked at White’s claims of him taking “10 months off”.

There were rumors that in McGregor’s absence, an interim lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was being planned for March. Ferguson has taken to social media to express that he was unhappy with the amount of money the UFC was offering him for the fight. Whether Aldo is being seriously considered as a lightweight title challenger or as a pawn in the UFC’s negotiations with Ferguson, remains to be seen.

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