RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Jose Aldo received several messages and compliments after his stunning first-round TKO over Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 30, including from his longtime rival Conor McGregor, but that didn’t surprise his coach Andre Pederneiras.
Days after the featherweight bout in Calgary, which marked Aldo’s first non-title fight in nine years and his first stoppage victory since 2013, McGregor told TMZ he was “so happy” for Aldo and Pederneiras.
”Honestly, truly happy to see the joy he had after it,” McGregor said. “It’s a crazy business and I know he’s gone through a lot of stuff. So to see him come back with that great finish, I was very happy for him and his coach Andre Pederneiras. The whole of Ireland was happy for Jose Aldo that night.”
Speaking with the media in his training center in Rio de Janeiro recently, Pederneiras said that shows who McGregor really is as a person.
”I think Conor created this pejorative myth around him because of the things he says, but backstage he’s none of what he portrays himself to be to sell,” Pederneiras said. “Every time I met him he was super respectful, we shook hands, so it doesn’t surprise me that he had that reaction, especially now that he doesn’t have anything booked with Aldo. If he had something booked with Aldo he would say he was lucky, that he’s sh*t [laughs], only to provoke. He’s a guy that had done things I can’t see anyone else doing. He’s unique in history, can’t say anything.”
In a scrum with Brazilian reporters the same afternoon, Aldo was asked who he would pick as his next opponent if he could choose anyone at featherweight or lightweight, but said he would leave that decision for his coach.
Pederneiras didn’t think twice: Conor McGregor.
”The first fight didn’t represent what the fight really could be, and that’s unfortunate for everyone who wanted to watch it,” Pederneiras said, “so I would choose Conor even though I have nothing against him. I know there’s a good person behind that artist and it doesn’t represent what he says. He says a bunch of crap to get attention and sell.”
Pederneiras believes everything “The Notorious” does in public space and interviews is to promote himself and make more money, including his attack to a bus full of UFC fighters in Brooklyn, N.Y., targeting UFC lightweight champion and future opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov.
”That’s him being the artist, in my opinion,” Pederneiras said. “He knows that he will have to fight Khabib, so since he has to do that, why not start the mess now and start promoting it?”
Nurmagomedov opened up as an odds-on favorite for their UFC 229 tilt on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas, but the experienced Brazilian coach wouldn’t count McGregor out against the 26-0 champion.
”Man, I’ll tell you this, Conor is someone you can’t underestimate,” Pederneiras said. “He has done things I didn’t believe he could do, so I think it’s 50-50, but the physical advantage for Khabib is too big. I see the stand-up fight being too dangerous for Khabib, depending on how long it takes for him to taking the fight to the ground. But if he takes the fight to the ground quickly, his chances increase a lot.”