With one fight left on his UFC contract, former longtime featherweight champion Aldo retired from MMA last September. His former rival, McGregor, who dethroned him with a 13-second knockout to become 145-pound champion, believes Aldo still had a lot of fight left in him.
Aldo departed from the sport as a top bantamweight contender, and McGregor would have liked to see him continue trying to make a run for gold in the division.
“Why did he retire? Was he not scheduled to fight again? I thought he was making roads towards that 135-pound title,” McGregor said in an interview with Megan Olivi on the UFC’s YouTube channel. “And then he went to boxing and all. I don’t know, whatever the reason is, all the respect to him. A real fighter, multiple divisions, world title winner, and contender and been around so long. All power to him, I wish him all the best.”
McGregor and Aldo weren’t always on the best of terms, especially during their rivalry. McGregor’s trash talk and antics during the buildup had Aldo riled up, but the former champions eventually found a common ground and respect toward each other.
“That is the way it should be over time,” McGregor said. “You show up to fight, and you get my respect.”
Since retiring from MMA, Aldo boxed fellow UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens at Gamebred Boxing 4 this past April. Aldo fought Stephens to a majority draw, a decision he did not agree with.
Aldo was announced as a member of the UFC Hall of Fame in January and is expected to be officially inducted at a ceremony during International Fight Week in Las Vegas in July.