It may have taken him longer than it did the first time, but lightning struck twice for Jose Aldo as the UFC’s Featherweight Champion overcame #1 contender Chad Mendes at UFC 179.
From the outset, Aldo displayed his superior technique. He was shaken up by Mendes’ power more than once, but dizzied his opponent with blistering hand and foot speed. He was just the better man, once again.
The judges scored the fight 49-46 across the board — all for Aldo — rewarding Mendes for an excellent fourth round that saw Aldo take some hard combos as he tanked for the final five minutes.
The fifth round was one of Aldo’s best. Despite swelling, cuts — and surely a little bit of whiplash — Aldo was ready to leave no doubt in who was really the better man. He came out swinging, hurt Mendes, and secured the victory.
Mendes, once again, was the # 1 ranked Featherweight contender. He gave himself this leverage with landslide victories over Clay Guida, Darren Elkins, and Nik Lentz — all of which remain in the UFC’s official top 15 rankings.
Jose Aldo has wins over five of the current top six guys in either UFC or WEC contests. The lone man to ever trouble him was Frankie Edgar, who gave him five hard-fought rounds, but evidently lost, even if it was by the slightest of margins.
A rematch with Edgar, # 3, if he defeats Cub Swanson, # 2, would be interesting. A rematch with a much-improved Swanson could also be feasible if he turns out victorious. There is an elephant in the room, however.
Can you guess the name of the man who Aldo didn’t defeat? Hint: He was cageside for UFC 179.
Conor McGregor has won all four of his UFC fights, and done so in superb fashion, most recently, annihilating mid-tier contender Dustin Poirier in just a single round.
The Irish martial artist was cageside at UFC 179, and “The Notorious” puncher is prepared to make strides against the very best, if allotted the time in “The Octagon”.
Jose Aldo is one of the most complete MMA fighters, and he stands with pride as the last active Brazilian UFC champion.
Those two things will make it nearly impossible for anyone to defeat him, but, in this sport, nothing is a given.
Whether his next title defense be against the experienced Edgar or Swanson, or the most universally intriguing fight with McGregor, the sensational Aldo mustn’t become appeased with his continued success.
…or it will be no more.