UFC bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz says he has no issue facing fellow Brazilian José Aldo at UFC 265 this weekend.
The two 135-pound top 10’s are set to clash in Saturday’s co-main event. Munhoz, who currently sits at #9 in the division’s rankings, will be looking to climb closer to the top five with a second consecutive victory. After back-to-back defeats to current champion Aljamain Sterling and bantamweight newcomer Frankie Edgar, “The Young Punisher” returned to the win column at UFC Vegas 20 with a unanimous decision win in his rematch with Jimmie Rivera.
Aldo, meanwhile, registered his first win in his new weight class when he outscored Marlon “Chito” Vera last December. A controversial split decision loss to Marlon Moraes on his bantamweight debut and a championship defeat against Petr Yan on Fight Island last Summer had left him 0-2 at 135 pounds. “Junior” will be looking to show he can still compete with the best when he faces Munhoz on August 7.
But despite facing one of his country’s most decorated mixed martial artists, Munhoz isn’t fazed by the prospect of fighting his compatriot. During an interview with FanSided ahead of his 16th walk to the Octagon, the 34-year-old said the sport is based on individuals, rather than on nationality.
“I’ve never had a problem fighting [Brazilians],” Munhoz said. “I started my career in Brazil before I moved to the United States. I fought four Brazilians. Before that, I used to compete in a lot of jiu-jitsu, all of the tournaments in Brazil growing up. It’s an individual sport; it’s not like it has anything to do with race or countries or anything like that.”
Having faced a host of fighters from his home nation in the past, Munhoz described his clash with Aldo as just “another fight.”
“As I said, it’s an individual sport. Each of us there represents ourselves, not a country. I’ve been living in America for more than 10 years. I just see another fight. In reality, in many interviews, they ask me that question. I don’t have any problem fighting a Brazilian, an Asian, an American. It’s my job. There’s not hate behind it. It’s just to prove who’s the best fighter that night, and that’s how I see it.”
Munhoz went on to predict that Aldo will join the likes of Cody Garbrandt and Rob Font on his list of UFC stoppage wins.
“Knock out, first or second round,” he said.
The intriguing bout between Aldo and Munhoz was boosted to the co-main event slot following a positive COVID-19 test from Amanda Nunes. The UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion had been set to defend her 135-pound belt for the sixth time against Julianna Peña.
With the cancelation, Angela Hill and Tecia Torres joined the likes of Michael Chiesa, Vicente Luque, Song Yadong, and Casey Kenney on the main card. Following Munhoz’s scrap with Aldo will be heavyweight a main event between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane for the division’s interim gold.
Who do you think will come out on top at UFC 265? Pedro Munhoz or José Aldo?