The former two-time featherweight champion of the world has spoken in-depth about his upcoming opponent Max Holloway, injury-excuses and his drive to regain his title.
UFC 218’s headlining bout was originally scheduled to include a featherweight title bout between defending champ Max Holloway and the long-time top contender Frankie Edgar but following the news that the challenger sustained an injury during fight-camp, the former champion, Aldo, was drafted in, despite the fact that it has been only a matter of months since he lost out to the Hawaiian in conclusive fashion.
UFC 212 was the event and with Aldo making the first defence of his second-reign atop the division, there were still pretty big hopes for his opponent, the 25-year-old Max Holloway. Holloway had managed to put together one of the longest and most impressive win-streaks in the sport at such a young age and when the two finally met inside the octagon, ‘Blessed’ came in as the division’s interim-champ, something he achieved with a dominant win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 206.
It just wasn’t Aldo’s night unfortunately when the fight went down and after three hard-fought rounds, he succumbed to strikes and despite only winning his beloved belt back, was forced back into contender-status and in a recent media day at his gym, Nova Uniao, José told MMAFighting exactly how he felt about the last fight and his performance and health going into it.
“Every time I’m in there that’s the best Aldo possible. Holloway was a great fighter that night and was able to win. He deserved it. There’s no excuse. ‘Dede’ talked about it because it happened in training, but if I’m in there, that’s the best Aldo available. There’s no excuse. He won because he deserved to win.”
As for this time around, despite only having had a few months to re-evaluate his strategy against the current champ, Aldo feels very confident that the fire that has been lit within him since the loss will see him through on the night.
“I’m in perfect condition. There are always small injuries, but nothing that takes any weapon away. I’m kicking, punching, I’m doing everything now. There are no serious injuries. You can expect the best kickboxing, the best muay thai. I will walk forward the entire time. I want to kick a lot in this fight. I want to put my hands as well, everything I learned recently, I want to go in there and do it.
“I’ll smother him from beginning to the end, and he will have to worry about his defense. I always saw the attack as the best defense, so I was holding myself back, thinking ‘he has this strong point,’ and that harmed me. Not anymore. I want to go in there and be myself, be who I always were. That’s what I want.
“If you fight all the time you can lose one day, so (the loss) is not stuck in my throat. The belt is no longer with me, so that makes me more motivated to train and get it back. Holloway is just another one that I will win.”
UFC 218 is set to go down on December 2 in the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan and if the main event wasn’t good enough, it boasts a lineup of fights that includes showdowns like Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou, Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje and the pivotal flyweight title-eliminator between Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena