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Wallid Ismail: ‘Jose Aldo saved Brazilian MMA’

Wander Roberto/inovafoto

Jose Aldo successfully defended his UFC featherweight title on Saturday night, and his win over Chad Mendes was huge for his country.

Wallid Ismail, former MMA fighter and longtime MMA promoter as the president of Jungle Fight, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that a loss in the main event of UFC 179 would have been terrible for the future of the sport in Brazil.

"Jose Aldo saved Brazilian MMA," Ismail said. "He saved, no doubt about it. If he had lost our last belt, it would have been really bad for Brazilian MMA."

Aldo, who defeated Mendes via unanimous decision in an epic battle Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, remains as the only Brazilian to hold a UFC belt today.

On Nov. 15, Fabricio Werdum can join him should he beat Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight championship at UFC 180.

"I really think Fabricio Werdum is going to get the title," Ismail said. "Man, just something really strange (has to happen) for Fabricio not to get our second belt in Mexico. I have no doubt about it.

"And you know the best part? Both (fighters) came from Jungle Fight," he added. "Jose Aldo’s only loss happened at Jungle Fight (against Luciano Azevedo, in 2005), and the beginning of Fabricio Werdum’s career was at Jungle Fight. This is great."

Brazil lost multiple UFC titles with Renan Barao, Anderson Silva, Mauricio Rua and Junior dos Santos, and Ismail believes fighters should focus more in fighting.

"Brazilians need to be focused. Any fighter in the world who starts to (become) an actor and be a lot in the TV, the next step is they lose focus," he said. "I talked about it to Bethe (Correia). She was in the media a lot, and I told her ‘Bethe, now is the time to be focused. Enough of media.’ Fighters need to train hard."

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