José Aldo says he remains committed to finding success at bantamweight, which he described as the “best weight division” for him.
After going unbeaten at featherweight for over a decade, defeating the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, and Chan Sung Jung, and defending the 145-pound UFC title seven times in a row, Aldo’s time in the weight class came to an end in 2019. Having gone 3-4 in the division since losing to Conor McGregor at UFC 194, the Brazilian decided to try his hand at bantamweight.
Despite losing his first two fights at 135 pounds, Aldo can consider himself unlucky to have found himself on the wrong side of a split decision against Marlon Moraes, and his title defeat last Summer was against Petr Yan, one of the most dangerous men in the division. A drop in opposition last December against Marlon Vera allowed Aldo to get off the mark in his new weight class.
But despite holding a negative 1-2 record in the competitive division, Aldo still believes he has a lot to give as a bantamweight, something he’ll look to show against fellow contender Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265 this Saturday.
Speaking to MMA Junkie during UFC 265 media day, Aldo said that, despite his three-fight losing skid, he remained confident and knew the victory he secured over “Chito” would come.
“Of course a few doubts happened (during the skid), because I was not used to losing, but I was confident. I know how good I am. I just needed to be careful, and I knew at a certain point victory would come again.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Aldo, who currently sits at fifth in the bantamweight rankings, admitted that he had perhaps fought for the strap too soon after dropping down from featherweight. However, he added that he’s more comfortable with every fight at what he branded as his strongest division.
“I’m thinking about the ranking right now… When I got to the division, I fought for the belt right away. Maybe it was too fast, but step by step I know where I am… Yeah, it’s the best weight division for me. Dana (White) always told me I should be fighting 135. I thought at that time I would never be able to make it. But, yeah, it’s the best division for me.”
“Junior” will look to demonstrate that exact point in this weekend’s co-main event. With similar styles, Aldo expects fireworks in his clash with “The Young Punisher.”
“He’s a very, very tough guy,” Aldo said. “He has a lot of fights in this division. He’s aggressive like me. That’s good for me, because of my style so I can find a way to get the victory… I’m expecting a really aggressive fight, because my style, his style. Everybody is gonna win.”
With his first walk to the Octagon in 2021, Aldo will be looking to further solidify his position as part of the bantamweight elites, and throw his name into the hat of title contenders at 135 pounds.
In a similar battle three weight classes up, Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque will be looking to secure a meeting with 170-pound king Kamaru Usman with a victory on the UFC 265 main card. While the bantamweights and welterweights on the card try to secure a shot at gold, two elite heavyweights will be fighting for an interim title in the main event. Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane will go toe-to-toe in the headlining bout, with a champion vs. champion matchup with Francis Ngannou awaiting the victor.
Do you think José Aldo can defeat his compatriot Pedro Munhoz this weekend at UFC 265?