The former Bellator featherweight titleholder took aim at the interim UFC champ’s words in explaining his request to be released by the industry-leader.
“By attacking other organizations, not only is he closing those doors, but also speaking poorly of several high-level fighters, including his teammates and friends, Eduardo ‘Dudu’ Dantas, and John ‘Macapa’ Teixeira,” Freire told MMAjunkie.
Aldo (26-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC), the No. 2 ranked fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, wants to be released from his UFC contract after undisputed featherweight champ McGregor (20-3 MMA, 8-1 UFC) was booked opposite lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at next month’s UFC 205. He said he’d had enough after the promotion broke a promise to give him a rematch with McGregor, who knocked him out to take the belt at UFC 194.
The UFC interim champ meets today with the promotion in Las Vegas to determine his future.
As No. 9-ranked “Pitbull” Freire pointed out, Aldo trains with several Bellator standouts, including bantamweight champ Dantas and standout Teixeira at the famed Nova Uniao academy. But in a recent interview, Aldo said he isn’t seeking a contract with the Viacom-owned promotion – he wants to try his hand at professional soccer.
“It’s not about going to a different promotion,” said Aldo. “I’m not leaving the biggest championship in the world to play the ‘B League.’ I’m a big team. I want to be at the best promotion in the world, (and) if it’s not the UFC, I’m not fighting anywhere else. That’s what I want for my life.”
Freire (25-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) is recovering from a broken leg suffered in a lightweight bout against ex-lightweight champ Benson Henderson (24-6 MMA, 1-1 BMMA). But he was listening when Aldo made his comments and took offense.
“Names like Phil Davis, Rory MacDonald, and Henderson have all migrated to Bellator,” he said. “And other high profile fighters in touch with the organization are all being offered much higher salaries than by the UFC.”
Recently, Freire offered a small enticement to Aldo to move to the Viacom-owned Bellator, tweeting a picture of him opposite Aldo with the hashtag, “WHATIF.”
With the interim champ’s recent words, Freire is offering a few verbal enticements.
“Aldo should remember he was once a WEC fighter, an organization said to be inferior to the UFC and that everyone thought he wouldn’t be able to beat any top lightweights if they chose to drop down,” the ex-Bellator champ said. “He seems to forget that the current UFC lightweight champion was once the Bellator champion too. Things change.”
To rub some salt in the wound, he also agreed with McGregor, who dismissed Aldo’s ultimatum as a sign he didn’t want a rematch.
“I’m starting to think that McGregor was right in regards to several things he said about Jose Aldo – more specifically when he said he couldn’t stand to be there anymore,” Freire said. “I don’t think Aldo’s being smart by expressing his dissatisfaction against the organization he represents in this way.”
Aldo, of course, has much bigger issues to confront than a grudge with a fighter in an opposing promotion. But Freire is never one to hold his tongue.
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