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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Conor McGregor became known as a fighter with a mystical ability to defy the odds because of his stunning upset victory over Jose Aldo, the former UFC featherweight champion.
Aldo says there's zero chance McGregor can beat the daunting odds he faces when he steps into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather.
"There is no way McGregor can defeat Mayweather," Aldo said. "Mayweather has done this his entire life, and it's a different sport."
The way Aldo sees it, McGregor has obvious motivations for the spectacle that will occur Aug. 26 in Las Vegas — and those motivations don't include boxing glory.
"After the Mayweather fight, he'll get lots of millions of dollars," Aldo said. "Probably he'll never fight again."
Aldo was the most dominant champion in mixed martial arts until McGregor set his sights on the Brazilian star several years ago. McGregor embarrassed and infuriated the champ with his loquacious showmanship during the buildup to their December 2015 bout — and then McGregor stunned the UFC with a 13-second knockout of Aldo, flattening the feared 145-pound star with one punch.
While McGregor's win ended Aldo's 10-year winning streak, nobody found it to be as utterly improbable as a potential victory over Mayweather (49-0), the most successful boxer of his generation. McGregor worked relentlessly to get under Aldo's skin during the months before their fight, and Aldo recognizes the similarities in the mental game McGregor is playing against Mayweather.
McGregor calls himself "Mystic Mac" due to his ability to predict the results of his fights. While he has been wrong before — such as in his submission loss to Nate Diaz last year — he has shown a remarkable ability to back up his boasts with results.
McGregor vowed to stop Mayweather within four rounds during their uproarious promotional tour last month, but Aldo is among those who don't think even McGregor believes it. Aldo saw the posturing and insult-trading as something else entirely.
"It's a joke," Aldo said. "He's just looking for the money."
Aldo spoke while in Los Angeles to support Brazilian boxer Esquiva Falcao, who fought on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko's victory over Miguel Marriaga.
McGregor never defended the featherweight belt that he took from Aldo, who reclaimed that 145-pound title last year with a win over Frankie Edgar. Aldo lost the belt again in June to Max Holloway, who stopped him in the third round in Brazil.
Aldo said he doesn't plan to move up to lightweight, but hopes to reclaim the featherweight belt from Holloway, who received praise from Aldo. The loss to McGregor stings much more.
"(McGregor) can say whatever he wants, but he was a lucky guy," Aldo said. "One punch and he finished it. No skills."