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Jose Aldo, “The King of Rio” Reigns Supreme

When fighters reach the twilight of their career, the end tends to be ugly.  This has become regular, even for champions and title challengers.  But Jose Aldo, having had a Hall of Fame career, continues to embody excellence.  Against a surging contender in Jonathan Martinez, Aldo won a dominant decision at UFC 301.  Martinez boasts several leg kick finishes, but it was Aldo who showed off his legendary kicking game.  His boxing looked as crisp as ever, and the veteran still displayed blinding speed.  It was as good of a homecoming as any fighter could ask for.

Image – BBC Sport

After his loss to Merab, Aldo’s UFC run seemed all but over.  The fight halted Aldo’s potential hopes for a second title shot at bantamweight.  After having already held the belt at featherweight for so long, it felt as though he had accomplished everything he could.  Yet, to this day, he has proven capable of winning at the highest level, in arguably the UFC’s deepest division.  

As implausible as it sounds, this win has inevitably sparked discussions of another Aldo title run.  Narratively speaking, it does not seem possible for Aldo to win a title this late into his career.  He had fallen short against Petr Yan, and has only gotten older since then.  And one cannot forget that in five round fights, Aldo has always struggled.  Even when he finds success early, he has struggled to keep up with the current champions in the later rounds.  Max Holloway exploited this weakness to devastating effect in their two title fights.  

Still, when you watch Aldo today, it is all too apparent why he defended his belt for so long.  He continues to carry such explosive power, and mixes in devastating combinations to the body and head.  Combined with his stellar takedown defense, even the best of today’s generation have struggled to handle him.  And with some of the flashy finishes we have seen in recent title fights, you can never fully count out someone of Aldo’s caliber.  

Regardless, one cannot help but admire Aldo’s longevity in this sport.  After devastating losses to Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Petr Yan, most would have slowly slid down the rankings.  Instead, Aldo continues to add to his game, remaining competitive even in his losses to the absolute elite.  Although Father Time is undefeated, even he acknowledges Aldo’s excellence.


Image – MMA Fighting

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