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Jose Aldo explains decision to turn down Conor McGregor rematch at UFC 196: ‘It’s not a cockfight’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo declined a rematch with Conor McGregor on less than two weeks' notice when Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of Saturday’s UFC 196 due to a broken foot, and he doesn’t regret his decision.

Aldo, who lost to "The Notorious" in 13 seconds last December, was willing to step in and face McGregor "at any time, anywhere", but had just returned to training when his manager Andre Pederneiras got the call from UFC president Dana White offering the bout in Las Vegas.

"Any professional needs time to train," Aldo told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour. "It’s not a cockfight where I go there and put my rooster to fight. It’s a high-level sport, I’m going there to do my job. When I have time to train, it can happen at any time, anywhere."

The UFC has yet to announce when Aldo will be back in action, but the Brazilian says even the UFC agrees he deserves an immediate shot at the featherweight belt when he returns.

"I can’t speak for others, and I don’t care what they say. I know I deserve an immediate rematch," Aldo said of those who think he should be in a non-title bout next. "People who say I don’t, I don’t care about them. The important is what the UFC thinks and what we think. We came to the conclusion that we’re having an immediate rematch."

Aldo says believes fighting for the title is more important than fighting McGregor.

"I know I will win (the belt) again," he said.

The Brazilian isn’t interested in facing Frankie Edgar in a No. 1 contender bout next, and eyes a spot at the historic UFC 200 event on July 9.

"I want to fight at UFC 200," Aldo said. "It’s a historical edition, a great event. I would like to be part of it."