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Jose Aldo thinks Conor McGregor will take the Mayweather money and run from fighting

Conor McGregor, left, fights Jose Aldo at UFC 194 on Dec. 12, 2015. The bout ended with a knockout by McGregor in 13 seconds.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Much of the sentiment boosting Conor McGregor’s chances for being able to pull a stunning upset over Floyd Mayweather Jr. is rooted in the fact that McGregor ended former UFC champion Jose Aldo’s 10-year unbeaten run with a knockout in 13 seconds.

Aldo not only isn’t buying the theory, he thinks it’s conceivable that McGregor will pocket the riches he’s fought and talked his way into and leave combat sports for good.

“There is no comparison. It is not similar. Totally different,” Aldo said when asked if a repeat of McGregor’s shocking December 2015 featherweight-title victory in the UFC octagon can be repeated against Mayweather (49-0) in the T-Mobile Arena boxing ring on Aug. 26.

“There is no way McGregor can defeat Mayweather. Mayweather has done this his entire life and it’s a different sport.”

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Aldo made his comments fittingly at a boxing event Saturday night. The Brazilian watched near the corner as his middleweight countryman Esquiva Falcao posted an undercard victory at Microsoft Theater on the card headlined by super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.

McGregor sought on a four-stop international press tour to mentally infiltrate Mayweather, 40, who has returned from a two-year retirement for the bout that could potentially become the richest event in combat sports history.

During a similar extended buildup to McGregor’s showdown with Aldo that saw McGregor post an impressive knockout of Chad Mendes for the UFC’s interim featherweight title bout as Aldo recovered from an injury, the fast-witted McGregor went after Aldo at each face-to-face meeting, from stealing his belt to accurately predicting the first-round knockout.

The victory rocketed the credibility of McGregor’s “Mystic Mac” predictions, furthered when he spoke of bloodying the face of Nate Diaz in their rematch (which he did) and repeatedly hammering then-lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez with punches to the face (also accomplished).

McGregor is saying he’ll stop Mayweather “inside four rounds.”

Aldo scoffed both at McGregor’s forecasting powers and the suggestion that the Irishman had penetrated his psyche.

“He and you can say whatever you want, but he was a lucky guy to get the one punch and finish it,” Aldo said. “There was nothing more to it than that.”

After losing the featherweight belt to Max Holloway in June, Aldo has some work to do to re-position for a rematch with McGregor.

Aldo doesn’t think it will ever happen because he said he suspects McGregor, 29, will leave fighting after taking home an expected purse that will exceed $100 million from the Mayweather bout.

“After Mayweather, when he gets lots of millions of dollars, he’ll probably never fight again,” Aldo said.

UFC President Dana White has said he expects McGregor to defend his lightweight belt in the UFC by the end of the year if he emerges healthy from the Mayweather bout. McGregor, said White, has also said he’ll venture to Russia to fight unbeaten lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.

White has attended some of McGregor’s recent sparring sessions in Las Vegas, with the fighter scheduled to provide an update on his preparation at a Friday afternoon media day.

“It looks damn good. I’ve got to say I was impressed,” White said, dismissing the notion that McGregor made a mistake by not aligning with one of the respected California boxing trainers, like Freddie Roach, Abel Sanchez or Virgil Hunter, since he’s been out of the octagon since November.

“Here’s the thing: Boxing guys have been going after Floyd Mayweather for years and nobody’s been able to do it,” White said. “What are they going to teach Conor? Conor knows how to fight. Conor fights in real fights, and he’s going to show Floyd a completely different look than traditional boxing guys. Conor’s going to … fight Floyd Mayweather.”

Aldo disagrees, shaking his head affirmatively to the question if McGregor is conducting one of the greatest con jobs in sports history.

“It’s a joke.” Aldo said. “He’s just looking for the money.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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