Interim UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is requesting a release from the world’s largest fight promotion.
Widely considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, Aldo, 30, publicly asked the UFC for his release on Tuesday — one day after the promotion announced a lightweight championship fight between Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor. The request was reported by Brazilian news outlet Combate.
“If [UFC president Dana White] likes me and my family as he said, I only ask him to free me normally,” Aldo said in Portuguese. “I don’t want to fight with nobody. I want to leave the same way I entered. UFC never gave me anything, neither WEC, neither nobody. It was all my merit.
“I just want them to release me from the contract. If they offer me millions, they can have it. I don’t want it. Sorry for the expression, but I’m not a whore to sell myself. I’m a man.”
The UFC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ESPN.com. According to Combate’s report, White said he intends to speak to Aldo.
Aldo (26-2) had campaigned for a rematch against McGregor (20-3) all year. He suffered a 13-second knockout loss to McGregor at UFC 194 last December, which ended his run of seven consecutive title defenses. It was his first loss in more than 10 years.
The Brazilian bounced back with a convincing win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 in July. McGregor, however, has not been interested in a rematch. He fought Nate Diaz twice as a welterweight, in March and again in August, and is now scheduled to fight Alvarez at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York.
The UFC has allowed McGregor to retain the featherweight title, even though this will be his third appearance without defending it. Aldo says he was never given that option in all his years as a UFC champion.
“I see that I can’t trust any word from the president Dana White and that who is in charge of the event is Conor McGregor,” Aldo said. “As I’m not here to be an employee of McGregor, today I ask to cancel my contract with the UFC.
“The biggest proof of who is in charge of the UFC is Conor is that when I wanted to move up a category and fight against [Anthony Pettis], they said I had to give up my belt and try fighting with no title at all. On contrary, with him, besides letting him fight in a higher category without losing the belt, they let him do other fights.”
Aldo, who fights out of Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, said he lost passion for mixed martial arts, but his longtime trainer Andre Pederneiras convinced him to continue his career.
ESPN.com ranks Aldo the No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. A former WEC and UFC champion, he has notable wins over Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes and Edgar.
“It’s not that I’m hot-headed, revolted, none of this,” Aldo said. “I’m cool. I talked a lot before that I wanted to finish my career at the age of 30 and take new roads. I never fought for money. I wanted to make a good journey and leave a legacy on the category. I wanted to retire as a champion featherweight, but things didn’t work out that way. I am an interim champion. I’m up there, but I am really pissed off.”