MMA veterans vs. YouTubers is a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, but you can count Jose Aldo out of it.
The former UFC and WEC featherweight champion is gunning toward another shot at the UFC bantamweight gold after back-to-back wins over Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz, and he won’t consider losing focus for more profitable opportunities outside the octagon like his MMA peers Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren boxing YouTube celebrity Jake Paul.
“I respect everyone for doing these fights, especially when you’re in the end [of your career],” Aldo told MMA Fighting. “[When you’re] in the end, I think it’s worth making as much money as possible because, in general, they didn’t manage well their careers, so they are going down that path, and thank God this door has opened for them and they are making good money.
“But Aldo, no. To me, that doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t get inside my head. I have always fought for a legacy, I’ve always fought to make history and have my story told, and have people say in 10, 20, 30 years from now, ‘Aldo was the greatest featherweight champion and went down to bantamweight and became champion as well.’ No money can buy that. To me, my legacy is worth way more than money.”
“I make money in my fights since I got in the sport and I’ve always planned to, when I stop and retire tomorrow, I don’t have to do those things, which, to me, are humiliating,” Aldo said. “For everything I’ve learned in martial arts, everything I’ve done, to sell myself for money … no, I’m a legacy guy. I want to be in the UFC. When I’m done fighting, I want it to be in the UFC. I want to be in the Hall of Fame. I want to see my story told in the world’s biggest organization, not in one of these circuses. If it’s a [money fight] in the UFC, cool, I’ll do it. Outside of it, I wouldn’t.”
Dustin Poirier, who once held the interim lightweight belt in the UFC, seems to be more interested in money fights rather than facing Charles Oliveira for the 155-pound gold. First, he turned down a shot at the vacant belt to face Conor McGregor a third time, and has been teasing a clash with Nate Diaz recently.
Aldo thinks Poirier “was right” to choose to face “The Notorious” in a lucrative trilogy over a title fight.
“It’s a trilogy, it was 1-1 and everybody wanted to see this fight, so it was OK for Dustin to fight Conor,” Aldo said. “And if he fights Nate, too. They are high-level athletes who have fought for titles, were champions, so, to me, it makes sense, just like it would for me to be in a superfight against whoever. But to fight a YouTuber who spends his entire day selling content that has nothing to do with martial arts, I can’t wrap my head around that. I respect that, but it doesn’t have my attention.”