Aldo won a unanimous decision over Edgar three years ago at UFC 163 to retain his belt. In the buildup to their rematch at July’s UFC 200, he’s said he doesn’t see a different result ahead.
Edgar, though, thinks the Brazilian ex-champ is trying to pump himself up after the loss of his belt to rival champ Conor McGregor (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC), whose immediate future appears to hold a rematch at welterweight against Nate Diaz (19-10 MMA, 14-8 UFC).
“I think he’s a little delusional is what I think,” Edgar (20-4-1 MMA, 14-4-1 UFC) said of Aldo (25-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC), who he meets in the co-headliner of UFC 200 on July 9 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. “I think he’s trying to talk himself up. After a devastating loss like that, I know his confidence can’t be too high, and sometimes, they say, you keep telling yourself these affirmations, and it comes true.
“I think he’s trying to do that, but it doesn’t work. Talking’s not enough – you’ve got to show up and perform. We’re going to find out July 9 if he can back his talk up.”
Edgar attributes his previous loss to Aldo to a lack of familiarity with the featherweight division, where he’s reeled off five straight wins to earn a title shot promise from the UFC.
“I just think I’m a totally different fighter than I was back then, and I’m going to come out and show it,” he said.
Normally humble in victory or defeat, Edgar said McGregor has taught him that being quiet is never good for your career. A campaign to fight the Irish champ proved to be unsuccessful, with McGregor first targeting the lightweight belt before breaking the box office against Diaz in a welterweight headliner at UFC 196.
Now is not the time for Edgar to be shy about what he wants in the event he beats Aldo. But even then, he’s unsure whether he’ll have to unify the title.
“I think this is for the real belt,” Edgar said. “I don’t think Conor’s coming back down (to featherweight). There’s a lot more to lose at 145 than anywhere else.”
But Edgar wouldn’t shy away from moving up to his former weight class, either, if it meant he could fight McGregor. There’s a huge incentive to do so.
“He comes with the big paycheck,” Edgar said. “He’s the most popular guy in the UFC, he’s going to talk it up more than anyone else, and that’s a fight I know I can win.”
Before he gets ahead of himself, though, he needs to beat Aldo, a fighter who hadn’t lost in 10 years prior to his setback. Edgar has maintained for years that their first meeting should have gone the other way. Now he gets to prove it.
“My long-term goal is to get that real gold at 145,” Edgar said.
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