Though the UFC title situation at 145lbs made a bout between he and Max Holloway inevitable, Jose Aldo’s eye has never really seemed on the job.
The Brazilian, who was promoted from interim featherweight titlist to champion when Conor McGregor was stripped of that status late last year, has talked more about McGregor than new interim titlist Holloway in recent months and he also seemed more interested in battling Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt than defending against the Hawaiian.
However, Aldo vs Holloway is now a reality. It will take place at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on June 3rd.
With a date and venue set, Aldo suddenly sounds more focused and it doesn’t seem as though he is looking beyond Holloway’s challenge or taking it lightly.
During a recent interview with Brazilian MMA media outlet Combate, ‘Scarface’ did question Holloway’s grappling game but he was very respectful of the rampaging 25-year-old’s stand-up skills.
“He’s a tall guy, but I have good reach, too,” said the 30-year-old veteran(via BloodyElbow). “It’s no trouble, it’s only a few centimeters. He has an advantage being taller than me, but I don’t see him being an expert anywhere. He’s a kickboxer, he’s versatile there, but his jiu-jitsu is so-so. He’s not a complete fighter, but he’s aggressive and dangerous.”
It’s interesting to hear Aldo talk about Holloway’s jiu-jitsu skills. Most are predicting that this fight will develop into a kickboxing match, but perhaps Aldo feels it’s the right time to stray away from his usual approach.
Holloway has looked formidable on the feet throughout his 10-fight winning-streak and this is certainly where he poses the greatest threat. His ground game has come a long way since McGregor exposed it’s shortcomings back in 2013, but questions are still abound.
Aldo, a talented grappler who has traditionally used those skills sparingly, has admitted in previous interviews that he intended to utilise more grappling in his UFC 194 fight with McGregor, but he didn’t get the chance because he was knocked out in just 13 seconds.
Against another talented striker with perceived holes in his ground game, could Aldo be thinking about recycling that gameplan?