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With McGregor in mind, Aldo vows to get back to aggressive WEC days



It's no secret: Jose Aldo was less than satisfied with the fight he got for UFC 200. The former featherweight champion faces Frankie Edgar for the interim belt on July 9 -- the same night as the linear champion, Conor McGregor, goes up to welterweight one more time to face Nate Diaz in a rematch.

Since December, after being defeated by McGregor in the main event of UFC 194, Aldo has been campaigning for a rematch against the Irishman, but couldn't get his chance. Even though the situation is not ideal for him, Aldo seems resigned to reality, and guarantees to be motivated to chase the title.

"We were a bit frustrated, because it wasn't the fight we wanted. I was thinking about fighting for the belt and winning a rematch against Conor,” Aldo told UFC.com Brazil. “I know that I deserve it, because of my history and what I've done. But what can you do? I'm an employee. I won't waste time waiting. I have to fight.

“So this is the next step to regain the belt.”

The 13-second loss, however, had its silver lining: Aldo was able to reflect on what needed to change inside the Octagon. The Brazilian, that have won five out of seven UFC bouts via decision, has endured constant criticism regarding his aggression since his debut at the Octagon in 2011.

For many, Aldo was not the same killer champion who would put fear in any featherweight of the WEC, where he had seven victories by knockout or technical knockout in eight appearances. After years of being referred to as a "warm" fighter, "Scarface" is ready to go back to his roots.

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"I'm training and trying to improve things I've always done very well and was not doing them anymore … jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and kickboxing have always been my strengths,” Aldo said. “I became known for them, but I think I was not doing them the same as before. So now we're reviewing everything, training new things, and returning to the jiu-jitsu and kickboxing that made me become a champion.

"We have to regain everything, so the aggression has to come back. I think it all depends, but be assured that I will get much more aggressive again." -- Jose Aldo
"We have to regain everything, so the aggression has to come back. I think it all depends, but be assured that I will get much more aggressive again."

Confident in a victory, Aldo is already planning the next step: the long-awaited rematch with Conor McGregor, where he might win back the belt that belonged to him for four years. According to the Brazilian, the defending champion will have no choice but to return to the 145-pound division after the match against Nate Diaz.

"There's no way he won't come back. I want to see what they will do after this fight,” Aldo said of a McGregor rematch at 145. “First, I have to think about Frankie Edgar and win my fight. But this is the fight. There's no way we don't fight again. I hope he comes back, because he'll have to defend the belt anyway."

Below is the full exclusive interview with Jose Aldo:

How did you receive the offer to face Frankie Edgar in a rematch?

“We were a bit frustrated, because it wasn't the fight we wanted. I was thinking about fighting for the belt and winning a rematch against Conor. I know that I deserve it, because of my history and what I've done. But what can you do? I'm an employee. I won't waste time waiting. I have to fight. So this is the next step to regain the belt.”

The first fight, at UFC 156, was Edgar's debut in the featherweight division. What do you expect differently, now that he seems adapted to the weight class?

“There's no way he changed. He may try, but when he gets pressured, I know he will do everything he always does. We know the opponent. We always look to innovate, but keep what we've always done and know it works. Having this knowledge helps. He will try to create something new, maybe do something he failed to do in the first fight, but it's just about getting there and fighting. And we will win again.”

You won the fight in 2013 by decision, and just said you don't expect him to fight any differently. But what about you? Do you see the opportunity to change something in the strategy and have a better performance than in the first fight?

“I think especially now (I will change a few things). I was fighting in a specific way, but wanted to change. I'm training and trying to improve things I've always done very well and was not doing them anymore. We are looking for development, getting in there and winning with ease.

“Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and kickboxing have always been my strengths. I became known for them, but I think I was not doing them the same as before. So now we're reviewing everything, training new things, and returning to the jiu-jitsu and kickboxing that made me become a champion.”

Many say that since your UFC debut, you stopped being aggressive as you were, for example, on the WEC days. Can we expect a more offensive Aldo in the Octagon?

“Yes! We have to regain everything, so the aggression has to come back. I think it all depends, but be assured that I will get much more aggressive again.”

You will fight for the interim belt on the same night as the champion will make a fight in another weight class. How do you feel about it?

“It's a sh-t situation! Really, that's what I think. There is no sense, no logic. I have history, I have a long career, and I think I deserved more respect. Me, the fans and Edgar, too. But we are employees. Nothing I say or do is gonna change anything. We just have to accept and fight, because our life cannot stop. We make a living out of fighting, others depend on it. So we have to accept, train, and win.”

Do you believe Conor McGregor's next step after UFC 200 is defending the title?

"There's no way he won't come back. I want to see what they will do after this fight. First, I have to think about Frankie Edgar and win my fight. But this is the fight. There's no way we don't fight again. I hope he comes back, because he'll have to defend the belt anyway.”

UFC 200 is the last major event in the first half of 2016. Speaking about your career, what do you expect for the second half of the year?

“I hope to do another fight. I want to make at least two more fights. It may not be possible, but I want to fight again at least once until the end of the year. I want to fight. I want to keep fighting. This is my life, this is what I do. The next step is to beat Frankie Edgar, and then I'll see what I'm going to do.”

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