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Jose Aldo talks money over legacy, calls himself the best in UFC history

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Jose Aldo will meet with the UFC brass next Wednesday in Las Vegas to discuss his future in the sport, and even though he’s convinced to stop fighting, he told the media how things will work from now on if somehow the promotion changes his mind about not fighting again.

Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar to win the UFC interim featherweight championship in July, and wanted to face Conor McGregor next for the undisputed title or at least watch the Irish star get stripped of his belt after fighting one more time outside of the division.

It won’t happen, as "The Notorious" is set to take challenge lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez on Nov. 12 with the chance of becoming the first man to ever hold two UFC belts simultaneously.

Aldo is quite upset about it. And even though he guarantees money is not what would bring him back in action, the Brazilian would demand a lot of it for his fights if he ever competes again.

"Today, we think the way we have to think," Aldo said. "Everybody who knows me knows that I wanted to create a legacy and not fight for money. Everybody fights for money, of course, but I wanted to leave a legacy when I retired, get my name in the history. I don’t think like that anymore. When I lost the belt, I saw how reality is. Champion means nothing."

Before announcing his retirement, Aldo said he would prefer to face Anthony Pettis instead of Max Holloway next if McGregor wasn’t available. Holloway was pissed at Aldo’s comments, and the Brazilian explains his logic.

"What means is money in the pocket, and that’s what I’m thinking about," Aldo said. "That’s why I said ‘f*ck Holloway,’ who won eight in a row. Some people win 10, 15, and don’t fight for the belt. So, who is he to say anything? So I wanted Pettis because that would be a way bigger fight. Everybody wanted to watch this fight when we were supposed to fight in Brazil. You have to think about money first, it’s business these days. First the pocket, then something else.

"If I continue in the sport, I make it clear that I want to see money. That’s what it’s about. You can’t be a correct fighter. The right is wrong today. You don’t have to be the good guy and do what they want, that’s considered wrong today. The right is to spit at someone’s face, do cocaine or smoke weed, throw water at others, call people names, don’t show up at press conferences. That’s the right today, and that’s what Brazilian athletes have to do."

And for those who say Aldo is not big star in terms of pay-per-view numbers, the Nova Uniao fighter fires back.

"People come to me to say I don’t sell, Brazilian media say I don’t give interviews. Nobody is obligated to do anything," he said. "We do it inside (the Octagon). My obligation, (Ronaldo) Jacare’s, and Demian (Maia’s) – another guy that is coming off a lot of wins and don’t get his title shot. You have to do it in there. But if I call names here, that’s what everybody wants.

"And people say I don’t sell pay-per-views. If you compare, who have they created who can sell well? They brought Brock Lesnar from WWE, who brought another audience, Ronda (Rousey) came and brought another audience. Conor is a guy that sells well. The only one. I don’t see anyone who sells more than me. Give me a name."

McGregor is moving up in weight as champion to go for the lightweight belt, and Aldo was willing to do in the past. However, the Brazilian says the promotion wanted him to vacate his title before fighting Pettis, so he decided to stay at featherweight.

Asked if a title bout with Pettis at 145-pound, and getting paid the way he thinks he deserves, would be enough to convince him to fight again in the UFC, Aldo looks back at the days he tried to do what "The Notorious" is doing – and takes a shot at "Showtime" Pettis.

"Is Pettis a good offer? When he was the champion, and had to sell pay-per-views, he never sold more than me or anyone else," Aldo said. "When I beat Frankie Edgar the first time, (Pettis’) manager came after me backstage, following me and saying ‘let’s make this fight happen.’ When we got to the UFC, I was the one getting f**ked. I don’t want this. I’m trying to help, and I’m not being helped. It’s not a matter of fighting or not fighting. I’m not excited to fight now."

It’s still unclear what – if anything – could being Aldo back from retirement. If this is it for his career, "Scarface" wants to be remembered as an "excellent fighter." He knows people might disagree with him, but he calls himself the best of all times in UFC history.

"In the entire promotion’s (history)? For sure," Aldo said. "Of course, people will be partial, but I put myself among the best in history. When I said back then I was the best fighter people criticized me a lot, and I say it again. To me, brother, I’m the best."

"(I hope to be remembered as) an excellent athlete, an excellent fighter. For everything I’ve done in there, always giving my best. And for being the champion I always was," he continued. "I entered (the UFC) as ‘Scarface’ and left as people’s champion. That makes me proud. I like doing what I always did. I never changed my head because I was the champion. I want to leave as the guy that became champion and continued being the same person."

Aldo is satisfied with the legacy he created in over a decade dedicated to the sport, and is content with the money he made as UFC champion as well.

"Scarface" laughed and said he doesn’t know if he has made enough money to provide for the next three generations of his family, "but at least my daughter is really well. If I stop now, I’m fine. I don’t have anything to complain. But nobody ever gave me anything, I always conquered things. If I stop now, my daughter and entire family are well."

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