5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) / 145 lb (66 kg; 10 st 5 lb) / Featherweight
/ 135 lb (61 kg; 9 st 9 lb) / Bantamweight
It is a shame that most MMA fans don’t know how great of a fighter Jose Aldo was in his prime. Most casuals only know Aldo as the guy that got knocked out by McGregor in 13 seconds. Jose Aldo is the consensus greatest featherweight of all time, he has the most title defenses in the division and is still a top contender to this day.
Jose Aldo competed at MMA to escape poverty. At just the age of 17, Aldo moved from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro just to train mixed martial arts.
In the early years of UFC, small weight divisions were not really entertained. The UFC was either open weight or the bigger guys.
Aldo’s first major promotion was WEC, where he made an impressive debut run. Prior to fighting for the belt, Aldo had 5 wins, all ended via Knockout. Aldo was already a prodigy, he became a world champion at just 23 years old.
WEC Featherweight Champion
He then faced Urijah Faber for his first title defense. Aldo showcased how deadly a leg kick is by butchering Faber’s leg. Days later, Faber posted a video that he could barely walk due to the damage that Aldo did.
WEC to UFC
Aldo then defended one more time against Manvel Gamburyan before promoting the WEC to UFC. The UFC bought WEC which later made way to the smaller weight divisions. It ended up making the best fights, and one of the best decisions the UFC made.
There was something about Aldo’s run that made it legendary, he has beaten guys like Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian but what sets him apart from other champions is he either finishes guys or dominates them.
His first fight against Chad Mendes ended quickly, many thought that Mendes would give him problems since Mendes was an elite wrestler with heavy hands. Aldo finished Mendes with a knee off of a clinch and finished the fight with punches.
Aldo vs Edgar
Aldo’s next opponent was former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar who was used to taking guys down much bigger than him but he couldn’t control Aldo. He may be known for his stand-up striking but Aldo possesses one of the best takedown defenses in UFC history. That is one of the reasons why he was hard to beat.
There were hints that Anthony Pettis was looking to make a super fight against Aldo but later withdrew due to injury. Instead, Chan Sung Jung who is also known as Korean Zombie stepped up and was looking to dethrone Aldo but there was an unfortunate injury mid-fight that made Zombie not able to perform the way he wanted. Aldo finished Zombie in the fourth round.
Aldo was looking to be close to unbeatable, he was booked to fight Ricardo Lamas who was on a 4-fight win streak. Aldo defended his belt and won via unanimous decision.
Aldo vs Mendes 2
A rematch was booked against Chad Mendes, it was one of the greatest fights in UFC history. Two warriors giving their all, Mendes landed a deadly combo that would have knocked out anyone against Aldo but the champion was just too durable.
Even Mendes was shocked that Aldo did not go down when he practiced the combo numerous times. Conor McGregor was also in attendance, he was jumping at the edge of his seats and thought that the fight could have gone either way.
Aldo vs McGregor
Conor McGregor was next but unfortunately, Aldo pulled out due to an injury. McGregor fought for the interim title against Mendes instead.
The unification title fight was eventually booked for UFC 194 and the fight ended quickly. McGregor slept Aldo in just 13 seconds. It was the end of the long reign of featherweight GOAT, Jose Aldo.
Fortunately, Aldo did not give up or retire. He went on to fight for the interim title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. He won via unanimous decision, then later promoted to undisputed champion.
Aldo vs Holloway
His next fight was against Holloway, who was riding the longest win streak at the featherweight division. Stylistically, it was not a great fight for Aldo. In the first fight, Aldo had moments in the early parts but eventually was drowned by the relentless pressure and volume of Holloway’s output.
He was given a second chance to fight Holloway due to Edgar pulling out, but the outcome was still the same. Aldo’s energy gets sapped due to Holloway’s volume.
In his next fight, he faced fierce puncher, Jeremy Stephens where he was the underdog. Many were expecting that Aldo was already on the decline. Aldo landed a monster body shot that was heard even by the commentators, it put Stephens down. Aldo showed heavy emotions after the referee stopped the fight.
Aldo then faced fellow Brazillian, Renato Moicano who was starting to be a threat to the division but Aldo spoilt the plan. Aldo finished Moicano via TKO in the second round.
As Aldo was starting to make another run, he faced Alexander Volkanovski who went on to become the next featherweight champion. Aldo was shut down by Volkanovksi that cruised to a unanimous decision loss.
Moving down to Bantamweight
After having a record of 3-4 in his last 7 fights, Aldo decided that it would be better to move down and try his shot at the bantamweight division. His first fight was against former title contender Marlon Moraes.
Many thought that the weight cut would affect his chin durability against a powerful striker like Moraes but he performed better than most expected. Many even thought that Aldo won the controversial decision.
Henry Cejudo was interested in facing Aldo since he thought that Aldo won the fight against Moraes. Due to the pandemic, Aldo couldn’t make the fight and Dominick Cruz stepped in instead.
Since Cejudo decided to hang up his gloves, the bantamweight title was vacant once more so the UFC booked Aldo vs Yan for the title. The fight was a back and forth but it was Petr Yan that was the better fighter that night. Yan hurt Aldo more that led to a finish at the later rounds.
Losing all of his bantamweights was not a good spot to be in but Aldo was determined that he would be able to compete so the UFC booked him against Marlon Vera. It was a great fight for Aldo and he performed well. It was a bit cautious but Aldo was willing to do what it takes to win.
His latest fight was against a durable Pedro Munhoz. Aldo showed that his reflex and speed are still there despite fighting for so long. Munhoz was known for his durability but Aldo was just too fast and too powerful for Munhoz. Aldo won all 3 rounds in judges’ scorecards. Aldo has been in the game for so long and yet he is still a top 5 contender, just shows how elite Aldo is.