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Jose Aldo: The Early Years

World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo might just be the best mixed martial artist in the world. But as he prepares for his pay-per-view debut against Urijah Faber Saturday night, I still don't think many American fans know Aldo's story. So to get you caught up in time for Saturday night, we've got a look at his first five fights.

Fight 1 (above)
Opponent: Mario Bigola
Result: KO (head kick) 18 seconds into round 1
Notes: Aldo's pro debut happened when he was only 17, and yes, he was a killer back then, too. I love the referee wearing jeans. Bigola never fought again; I can't say I blame him.

Fight 2
Opponent: Hudson Rocha
Result: TKO (doctor stoppage) after round 1
Notes: Aldo landed an absolutely brutal flying knee early in the first round, reminiscent of the one he employed to knock out Cub Swanson in the WEC last year. Give Rocha credit for surviving the first round, but Aldo had opened a nasty gash over Rocha's eye, leading the ringside doctor to call the fight to a halt before the second round could begin.

Fight 3
Opponent: Luiz de Paula
Result: Submission (arm-triangle choke) 1:54 into round 1
Notes: Aldo is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, but this is the only time he's ever used his grappling, rather than his striking, to finish a fight.

Fight 4
Opponent: Aritano Barbosa
Result: KO (soccer kicks) 20 seconds into round 1
Notes: It sounds crazy to say in a fight that ended after only 20 seconds, but the referee was way too slow to step in on this one. Aldo had Barbosa badly hurt with a flying knee and a bunch of punches on the ground, and by the time he started employing the soccer kicks (which were legal in that fight but are illegal in the United States) the fight should have already been stopped.

Fight 5
Opponent: Anderson Silverio
Result: Submission (soccer kicks) 8:33 into round 1
Notes: What a fascinating ending. Aldo threw Silverio on his back, and Silverio was content to stay there for 30 seconds, thinking Aldo would eventually back up and stand the fight up. Instead Aldo jumped over Silverio and got into position for a soccer kick, causing a terrified Silverio to tap out immediately.