José Aldo ran through his competition in the UFC Fortaleza co-main event in stunning fashion to make it two wins from two in the last eight months.
Out of the 24 fights Aldo has taken part in since his 2005 loss to Luciano Azevedo – he has only tasted defeat at the hands of two of the finest fighters to ever lace on gloves.
Do not forget that.
When all is said and done, the legend of José Aldo will be one that tells tales of a ferocious but calculated fighter – a methodical technician with a knack for a vicious finish when it’s there for him.
The signs were evident that the former-champion’s mental strength had abandoned him following his embarrassment at the hands of the man who stole away his title within the space of 13 seconds and yet here we are – once again singing his praises.
And rightly so.
Not only has Aldo managed to overcome the late-career slump that has been an absolute certainty for about 95% of those who get viciously knocked off their perch, he has managed to emerge from the flames with two of the most impressive victories he has ever achieved.
For the first time in 10 years, José has managed to record two finishes in a row and in Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano, he defeated two guys whose own career trajectories hinted that a so-called ‘passing of the torch’ was upon us.
But no, Aldo has proven he is of a different class – a class reserved for only the most distinguished of athletes. No matter what happens next, his legacy is set in stone beyond any argument.
Facing the 11-1 contender and his fellow Brazilian Renato Moicano in front of a crowd of his countrymen, a slow and calculated first-round gave way to a thunderous assault from the veteran, one that culminated in one of the most memorable finishing sequences we have seen in some time.
The raw, animalistic fury that Aldo possessed during his original run in the WEC was there in all of its breathtaking glory and as soon as he sensed doubt in his adversary, the fight was over.
Jose Aldo rolls back the years with this stunning finish at #UFCFortaleza 🇧🇷
The King of Brazil 👑 pic.twitter.com/8viOMjnl9S
— Watch UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 3, 2019
The visibly delighted Aldo drew comparisons to the UFC 229 victor Khabib Nurmagomedov from those in the UFC’s commentary booth as he vaulted over the cage to jump into crowd but make no mistake, we were seeing something very different here.
This man has had so much to contend with.
Everyone loses. Some even lose in a more brutal fashion than he did in the trio of losses he sustained in the last couple of years but Aldo’s defeat to Conor McGregor almost painted him as a figure of ridicule to those who had either completely missed or failed to grasp the sheer brilliance of his career.
And let’s be real, the manner in which José handled his loss to the Irishman did not help.
But Conor’s verbal and mental assault on Aldo represented a very unique and virtually unparalleled form of attack. Not only did he come at him with his words and actions, but he brought with him a new and frankly terrifying level of exposure that branded Aldo as the enemy in what was, at the time, one of the biggest rivalries the sport had ever seen.
McGregor’s influence over the fans cannot be underestimated here and through the pressure he applied to the more humble and modest champion that stood before him, it’s not a stretch to say that the reputation of José Aldo was damaged severely.
And for a time, it seemed as though that would be the story of this long-time champion.
Doing himself no favours in the way he spoke about UFC 194 in its aftermath, it really did look like José was doomed to fade out of view after sustaining an almighty blow to his legacy.
And yet, here he is – once again in our thoughts and completely deserving of our respect.
This is what a legendary fighter looks like, folks.
Do not make the mistake of discrediting him again.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena