Reigning UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has made it clear that he will be “the only champion” when he beats interim title holder Conor McGregor in their title unification bout at UFC 194 on December 12.
There is a long history of bad blood between Aldo and McGregor since the build-up to their scheduled fight at UFC 189 in July. However, Aldo suffered a rib injury shortly before the bout and was replaced by Chad Mendes, who McGregor beat via TKO in the second round to be crowned the interim featherweight champion.
While Aldo admitted that he was disappointed to have missed the opportunity to face McGregor at UFC 189, he has insisted that he is the true champion.
"It was a very difficult moment for me," Aldo told FOX Sports. "Especially since I'm always really active and always training, helping everybody out. It was a really tough thing. It was really bad for a while. I couldn't train, I couldn't do anything.
"It was a sad moment but I've just got to stay positive and move forward. Now I'm happy that I'm training, everything is going well, camp was good and I'm just looking forward to the fight.
"First off, everybody knows that I am the champion. He's just interim, he just walks around with a belt but everybody knows that I'm the real champion. I don't worry about what he does but I'm going to go in there and when I win, then everything will go back to normal. I'll be the champion and the only champion."
Aldo has asserted that McGregor earned his title shot through his trash-talking ability rather than his fighting skills, and the 29-year-old believes that if he beats McGregor on December 12, the Irishman will try to talk his way into a rematch.
"I believe he got to where he is just by talking," Aldo said. "I believe he's behind Chad (Mendes) and Frankie (Edgar). He got here by marketing himself. I've always believed he'll be at the end of the line behind me, behind Frankie, and behind Chad.
"I believe I'm going to win this fight and I have no doubt about it, but I don't think he'll go away. He kind of put Ireland on the map and he did a lot for the country so I believe he's going to go a different way. He might go the Chael Sonnen way and maybe talk himself into another title shot, but I don't think he's going to completely go away because he did a lot for where he came from so he's always going to be there."
With the fight just days away, McGregor is likely to try and distract Aldo by getting under his skin with another barrage of comments, but the reigning champion has said he will turn a deaf ear to whatever McGregor says in the lead-up to their highly-anticipated bout.
"I'm not paying attention to anything he does. I don't care what he does. I'm always focused, I stay focused and that's how I've always been throughout my whole career," Aldo said. "When we get inside (the Octagon), that's how I am — I'm calm, I don't worry about anything else. I'm always just focused on the task ahead. I've always been like that."
McGregor has already made a number of predictions on how his fight with Aldo will end, but the Brazilian has vowed to silence the Irishman when they finally lock horns in the Octagon in Las Vegas.
"I don't care about his predictions or anything he says. I know how the fight will end," Aldo said. "I know how it's going to go down. Many people that fought him said that he's not that strong, he doesn't punch hard, so I don't worry about how he thinks the fight is going to go — I know how the fight is going to go on my side. That's for you guys to see at the fight."