Conor McGregor surprisingly pays tribute to former rival Jose Aldo

Conor McGregor has defended his former rival Jose Aldo over the former featherweight champion's dramatic weight loss.

Aldo is dropping down to bantamweight to face Marlon Moraes at UFC 245 next weekend – but fans have voiced concerns over his gaunt appearance.

And the former UFC lightweight champion still has a reported 16lbs to cut before making the weight for the December 14 bout.

McGregor wrote his name in UFC folklore when when he beat Brazilian Aldo in just 13 seconds in an iconic lightweight fight in 2015.

And the Irishman has leapt to the defence of his old foe, saying he looks "more than on top of" his weight loss.

McGregor was responding to MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, who raised his concerns about Aldo's weight cut.

Reacting to pictures of the slimmed-down Aldo that had been posted on Twitter , Helwani said: "The first one is very troubling. Still don’t understand why Aldo is doing this."

McGregor tweeted back: "I disagree here. He looks more than on top of it in my experienced opinion.

"Well trimmed in advance, and naturally a lighter man now. This can only be done over a long length of time and with complete dedication. Respect!"

He added: "I wish him well and am excited to see him in this division."

Helwani replied, saying: "Fair enough. Respect.

"But, was it truly necessary at this stage in his career?

"What can be gained from a cut like this at this point? Prior to his last fight, a loss to the man who is fighting for the belt next week, he looked great in two straight wins/finishes."

McGregor reckoned there was plenty to be gained, however.

A former two-weight UFC champion himself having won lightweight and featherweight titles, McGregor replied: "[What can be gained is] the rejuvenation of your career with fresh goals and targets!

"The prestige of being a UFC world champion in two weight divisions!

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