In this article, we take a look back at the greatest moments of the legendary José Aldo’s MMA career.
5. José Aldo TKOs Cub Swanson In 8 Seconds (2009)
When José Aldo’s knee slammed into Cub Swanson’s face at WEC 41, earning his fifth knockout in as many fights, it was the start of the greatest featherweight run in history.
Prior to the bout, murmurs of Aldo’s potential greatness were already being heard thanks to the devastating fashion in which he was dispensing of his opponents. And by facing Swanson, who was 13-2 going into the fight, 22-year-old Aldo had the chance to earn a title shot against Mike Brown and announce himself as something truly special.
It took just eight seconds for Aldo to do just that.
The Brazilian walked to the center of the Octagon in characteristic fashion, his gaze never leaving the ground as if pondering the destruction he was about to unleash. Then when the bell rang, he sprinted toward Swanson and launched his entire being into one terrifying flying knee.
Swanson crumpled to the canvas, helpless to Aldo’s follow up shots. Aldo was now on an eight-fight win streak, which in the ensuing years would extend to 18 victories.
4. Reclaims UFC Featherweight Title Vs Frankie Edgar (2016)
Perhaps no UFC champion’s reign came to such a swift and brutal end than José Aldo’s.
In the five years since capturing the featherweight title against Mike Brown in 2010, Aldo made nine defenses and established himself as the consensus greatest featherweight of all time.
In 2015, it took Conor McGregor just 13 seconds and one punch to wipe out everything Aldo had accomplished as champ. But at UFC 200 in 2016, he was offered the chance for redemption.
Fighting for the interim title, Aldo faced Frankie Edgar—a man who’d given him a stern test back in 2013 and had since gone on a five-fight win streak, which included wins over the likes of Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber and Cub Swanson.
Perhaps still battling the demons that came from his quick knockout to McGregor, Aldo started off the encounter in tentative fashion. But that didn’t last long, with the Brazilian soon returning to his former self by stuffing Edgar’s takedowns and landing blistering counter strikes over and over again.
Aldo would round out a comfortable decision win to become interim featherweight champ. And when McGregor was stripped of his title due to inactivity some four months later, the “King of Rio” once again became the undisputed champ.
3. José Aldo Headlines First WEC PPV, Destroys Urijah Faber’s Leg (2010)
It was the title fight that brought the featherweight division into the mainstream.
José Aldo maiden title defense against Urijah Faber in 2010 featured as the headline act of WEC’s first ever pay-per-view. Back then its sister company, the UFC, featured only five weight classes, from lightweight to heavyweight.
Fans worldwide tuned in to watch Aldo deliver one of his most memorable dominations in which he brutalized Faber’s left leg for 25 excruciating minutes, earning him a one-sided decision victory. It provided the perfect showcase for the WEC featherweight division, which along with the bantamweight division, were only months later merged into the UFC.
2. José Aldo KO’s Chad Mendes Then Celebrates In Crowd (2012)
It was an iconic moment that will live long in the memory of many fans—José Aldo sprinting into the Rio de Janeiro crowd after knocking out Chad Mendes with just one second left in the first round.
Aldo’s UFC 142 triumph was the first time he’d fought in his hometown under the UFC banner. It also marked his fifth featherweight title defense, having previously fended off challenges from Kenny Florian, Mark Hominick, Manny Gamburyan and Urijah Faber.
And it isn’t just fans who think this is one of the most memorable moments of José Aldo’s career. When asked to look back at his favorite Aldo moment following his 2022 retirement, UFC President Dana White immediately thought of this spectacular scene in Rio.
“I think the fight was in Rio when he jumped out of the Octagon and jumped into the crowd, and the crowd was carrying him around, and the place was going nuts,” White said. “It’s one of my favorite José Aldo moments.”
1. José Aldo Defeats Mike Brown For WEC Featherweight Title (2009)
In 2009, Mike Brown looked unassailable atop the WEC featherweight division. Riding a 10-fight win streak, the 34-year-old had just solidified his championship reign with a second victory over WEC poster boy Urijah Faber.
Then at WEC 44, 23-year-old José Aldo came in and changed everything.
Despite having finished his last five opponents, many believed Aldo would face a far tougher test against an experienced wrestler like Brown. But the Brazilian easily stuffed Brown’s takedowns and proceeded to dominate him in all areas.
In the end, Aldo needed a little over six minutes to flatten the champ out and put him away with savage ground and pound, beginning a featherweight reign that would see him defend his crown nine times in the years to come.
What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Was anything missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!