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Coach: Jose Aldo ‘maybe overconfident’ at UFC 194, targets April return

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo came up short against Conor McGregor, losing in just 13 seconds at UFC 194. After months of build-up, the first UFC featherweight champion rushed into "The Notorious" seconds into the UFC 194 main event, eating a counter left hook that dropped him unconscious to the ground.

A week after the bout, Nova Uniao head coach Andre Pederneiras says Aldo was so confident he didn’t follow the strategy.

"I wouldn’t say anxious. Maybe overconfident, because he was really well," Pederneiras told Combate. "He was so confident in the victory he (thought) ‘I’ll throw (my hand) and will catch him’. It’s a split-second decision. Or you attack, or you get out. He decided to attack, and the other guy threw a counter to defend. He attacked, but moving in a way to stop (Aldo’s) attack."

Pederneiras wouldn’t say Aldo made a mistake that cost his belt. In fact, the Nova Uniao coach insists McGregor’s finish was a bit lucky.

"How can you say a superchampion like Aldo made a wrong decision?" he asks. "If you analyze the fight, Aldo threw the first straight, a fake straight, and McGregor threw his punch and it wouldn’t land on Aldo’s chin, but on his head. But Aldo moves up, moves his chin up, and (the punch) lands on his chin. McGregor wanted to land on his head. And with Aldo moving up, McGregor can’t say he calculated to hit right there.

"He will say this, but it’s something hard to say, especially because if Aldo goes in and throws his punch, it wouldn’t have landed. However, he was happy. Let’s say it wasn’t a lucky punch, he programmed that, but the way it connected on his chin when he moved forward, I think it was lucky."

Aldo has campaigned for an immediate rematch ever since the fight was over. McGregor still has to figure out his next move, going to lightweight to challenge Rafael dos Anjos or defend his 145-pound gold versus Frankie Edgar.

"Well, I disagree," Pederneiras said of the options for "The Notorious". "They don’t care if I agree or not, but here’s what I say: I can’t see Aldo not fighting for a belt or not in an immediate rematch. It wouldn’t be fair if that doesn’t happen, but happen to others. ‘There’s no immediate rematch for anyone’, cool, we know what the rule is. ‘(There’s rematch) because she’s blond and sells well’? I’ll dye Aldo’s hair. Right?

"I don’t see other scenario than a new fight, so we can really have a fight. In my head, what happened wasn’t a fight, just a punch that landed and ended it quickly."

Aldo plans to return to action in April, according to his longtime coach and manager, and his strategy for a potential rematch could change a bit after the quick knockout.

"I think the ground would be a good option, but I don’t rule out a five-round, stand-up fight," he said. "Aldo has strong blows, he can really hurt the opponent. In this fight, he was confident both standing and on the ground, he’ll be fine."