Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor are pretty tight these days, if you can believe it.

After having a moment to bask in the announcement of his upcoming UFC Hall of Fame induction, the legendary former featherweight champion spoke to the media backstage at UFC 283 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday and he shared an update on his relationship with McGregor, a former blood rival.

Aldo was asked if he regretted never getting a rematch with McGregor after “Notorious” knocked him out in 13 seconds at UFC 194, to which he answered that the moment for such a fight had long passed.

“Maybe back in the day it would have been an awesome event, but not today,” Aldo said via a Portuguese translator. “People, everywhere I go now — I do have a lot of respect for him. We’re friends. We even follow each other on Instagram, we exchange dialogue there, and sometimes fans come up to me and say, ‘Do you feel like beating McGregor or something?’

“I say, ‘How can I do that? That’s the guy who gave me the most money.

“I have nothing but respect and kind of a friendship now, [I wouldn’t think of a rematch] these days.”

Aldo, 36, announced his retirement from MMA competition this past August and is currently scheduled to compete in boxing on Feb. 10 against a still-to-be-determined opponent. When he steps into the ring for that event, he’ll have one more thing in common with McGregor, who battled Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a massive crossover bout in 2017.

He might ask McGregor for advice on how to make the move from MMA to boxing, given their amicable relationship.

“It’s usually good stuff,” Aldo said when asked what he and McGregor message about. “He’s just coming out of a big injury, so we just exchange stuff like that. He has a massive impact on the sport. It’s just usually good stuff that we talk about.”

Aldo bounced back from the McGregor loss by defeating Frankie Edgar for an interim featherweight title (later elevated to undisputed status) at UFC 200 and he laughed when asked about the rumor that McGregor congratulated him by leaving a pair of red panties on his door.

He then confirmed that the gesture did happen, which Aldo understood as a sign of respect from McGregor, who coined the “red panty night” catchphrase to indicate a big money fight.

“It was just good-hearted, lighthearted fun,” Aldo said. “We were in Red Rock owned by Lorenzo [Fertitta] in Vegas and we were window to window and there was a night I beat Frankie Edgar, so he just sent it out as a lighthearted joke. I didn’t do anything with it. But maybe. I could even get my missus to wear it or something.”



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