Conor McGregor backed up all his talk on Saturday night, beating Chad Mendes and winning the interim UFC 145-pound title. That’s about as far back as his memory will serve him for now because McGregor seemingly is moving on from the thought of a fight with Jose Aldo.
McGregor said post-fight that he went into UFC 189 a lot more beaten up than Aldo, who backed out of their planned main event a couple weeks ago. McGregor implied that Aldo should have made the walk to the Octagon, just as the new interim champ did before winning that title on Saturday.
“In my eyes he’s a distant memory,” McGregor said of Aldo on FOX Sports 1. “I had a hell of a lot more knocks and bruises in this camp than he had. I guarantee that, but I still showed up.”
Now that a belt sits firmly around the waist of Ireland’s favorite fighting son, the questions remains: when will Aldo vs. McGregor happen? The two are destined to meet so that the UFC can unify the two belts and have an undisputed featherweight champion.
But if you ask McGregor, there’s little that leads one to believe the word “interim” is at all associated with him and his new gold belt.
“We’ll see what happens down the line, but it’s on my call now,” he said. “I am the champion.”
And as champion, McGregor explained during the post-fight press conference that guys like himself and Mendes deserve the glory of having performed in front of the Las Vegas crowd. If Aldo had shown up across the Octagon from McGregor like everyone had expected for the past several months, things might have been different. But not on this night.
This night belonged to McGregor and his countrymen.
“I’m going to put Jose at a distant memory right now because I don’t think he deserves to be spoken about here,” McGregor said. “He didn’t show up. This was the event that we built. He should have made that walk — and respect to Chad for making that walk and showing up. In my opinion, Jose’s done. If it comes back around, we’ll discuss it then, but right now this is my night, this is Ireland’s night … this is our night.”