Outside of the ring, during public appearances, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo usually plays it pretty cool. It is in the cage that he becomes chillingly ruthless and violent.
So, it was to little surprise that "Scarface" tried to brush off what was a volatile promotional world tour with his UFC 189 challenger Conor McGregor. Though he was constantly insulted and cursed by his "Notorious" rival, and even had his championship belt stolen from him for a few moments, Aldo insisted that the only thing he minded during the tour was being away from home.
In Brazil, McGregor was taunted by Aldo’s countrymen. In Dublin, Aldo got the same treatment.
The champ said he wasn’t fazed by the abuse he received from fight fans in Ireland. Furthermore, he said, he had a lot of positive interactions with regular Irish folks.
"Ireland was really cold and windy, so that was bad. About the fans, I already knew they would support him, like when fans were on my side in Brazil," he said.
"But I walked in the streets and spoke with normal people and thought the Irish people were very warm and receptive."
Not since Chael Sonnen has a title challenger worked so hard to act provocatively and arrogantly toward a champion in the lead-up to a title bout as McGregor has with Aldo. There is little doubt that, should he beat the Irishman in July, Aldo will take special pleasure.
After all, McGregor has insulted Aldo’s impoverished childhood in favela slums in Brazil, and said that, in another time, he would enslave and murder Aldo’s loved ones. Despite all that, Aldo kept his poker face going, insisting that his fight against McGregor is just another fight.
"I will always be hungry to fight," he said.
"My next fight is always the most important. Now it’s time to go back to the gym, train and do my best."
Aldo was not above putting down his cocky opponent, however, and said that not only will he beat McGregor quickly, but that the rising contender also will fade into obscurity afterward. "He always says the fight will be over in four minutes, but I believe it won’t last four minutes," Aldo said.
"I will catch him earlier."
Given all the hype surrounding Aldo vs. McGregor, the bout will likely be the most viewed and most lucrative of the champion’s career. When asked if this fight will end up being a bigger rivalry than the one he and his Nova Uniao team have with Team Alpha Male and the likes of Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes, Aldo dismissed the notion.
"Alpha Male will always be around because this is only one fight," Aldo said.