Resilience is one of the defining characteristics of greatness in combat sports. Fighters who prove themselves capable of rebounding from defeat have traditionally garnered greater admiration than those who compile glossy undefeated or so-called ‘perfect’ records.
Jose Aldo was forced to overcome a setback quite early in his mixed martial arts career, as he was submitted by Luciano Azevedo in just his eighth professional fight. Aldo bounced back with gusto and proceeded to go on a decade-long tear that established him as the premier featherweight on the planet.
His immaculate run came to a devastating end in December of 2015, however, as he was starched by Conor McGregor in an unfathomable 13 seconds at UFC 194 in Las Vegas.
But in the aftermath of that defeat, the Brazilian has once again shown tremendous mettle. In July of last year, he jumped straight into another very tough fight, taking on former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, a man who had provided Aldo with arguably the toughest challenge of his featherweight reign. ‘Scarface’ turned in a remarkably composed performance for a fighter returning from a knockout loss, defeating Edgar more comfortably than he had the first time.
Should he defeat Max Holloway at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, Aldo will add yet another world-class name to his post-McGregor ledger and further cement his greatness.
However, perhaps due to the shocking brevity and memorable nature of his fight with McGregor, veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan is of the belief that no matter how much resilience Aldo displays or how much polish he applies to his legacy, that blemish will always be visible to some.
“Aldo’s legacy and his reign is always gonna be tarnished by that 13 seconds against McGregor,” Rogan said on a recent episode of his eponymous podcast.
“Which is so crazy because you take away that fight and he’s got one brutal war with Chad Mendes where he got rocked and stunned, which is a tough fight – the second one – great fight. And those are the only hard moments he’s had inside the octagon other than maybe round five against Ricardo Lamas,” Rogan added, perhaps forgetting that many people felt Edgar edged the Brazilian in the pair’s aforementioned first fight and that a bloodied but gutsy Mark Hominick gave Aldo hell in the fifth round of their 2011 contest.
“Lamas had him down and was doing a little bit of ground and pound in the fifth round and that was Aldo was too drained making that weight, but he’s smaller now. He generally looks smaller. He definitely chose to slim down because he was having unbelievably brutal weight cuts early in his career. He was just too big for the weight class so he just chose to slim his body down(via MMAFighting).”
Aldo has admitted in recent weeks that he believes a rematch between he and Conor McGregor will never happen, but unfortunately for the UFC’s first ever featherweight kingpin the only way that he will ever completely restore his reputation is if he gains revenge on the Irishman.