RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Jose Aldo will have a chance to recapture the UFC featherweight championship when he rematches Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 218 in Detroit on Dec. 2, but some post-fight comments in June bothered the champion.
Ten days after the UFC 212 fight in Rio de Janeiro, Aldo’s coach Andre Pederneiras revealed that the Brazilian had a leg injury that prevented him from throwing leg kicks against Holloway, and the Hawaiian believes comments like that are “kind of cowardly" that "takes away from someone's win."
"Hopefully he doesn't have an injury this time, and hopefully he kicks more,” Holloway recently told ESPN. "Kicks don't -- the guy was dead tired in the second round. There's a feeling in there when a guy is falling off.
"His mouth was open. I was able to taunt him. I Stockton-slapped him, and from then on I knew, 'Wow, this guy is not really moving anymore.' That was the time to turn up the heat, and that's what we did."
Aldo spoke with reporters during a media day at Nova Uniao’s gym on Monday, and responded to Holloway’s comments.
"I don’t think there was any cowardice,” Aldo said. "Every time I’m in there that’s the best Aldo possible. Holloway was a great fighter that night and was able to win. He deserved it. There’s no excuse. ‘Dede' (Pederneiras) talked about it because it happened in training, but if I’m in there, that’s the best Aldo available. There’s no excuse. He won because he deserved to win.
“I want to make something clear that Aldo didn’t say anything, I was the one who said that,” Pederneiras said. "I was asked why Aldo got tired and mentioned it. I never diminished Holloway’s win. If he had a good leg or not, the punch would’ve landed and he would’ve gone down the same way. The leg didn’t make him go down. We never diminished Holloway’s win, we praised him for the way be became champion."
Aldo was initially slated to meet Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg, but was moved to the Detroit event after Frankie Edgar was forced to withdraw from the title bout due to an injury. Despite the fact that he’s fighting two weeks before, “Scarface" guarantees he’s at his best.
"I’m in perfect conditions,” Aldo said. "There are always small injuries, but nothing that takes any weapon away. I’m kicking, punching, I’m doing everything now. There are no serious injuries. You can expect the best kickboxing, the best muay thai. I will walk forward the entire time. I want to kick a lot in this fight. I want to put my hands as well, everything I learned recently, I want to go in there and do it."
The Brazilian star reigned supreme in the 145-pound division for years, but suffered two knockout losses in his last three appearances inside the Octagon. Although he admits he’s tired of competing in MMA, Aldo guarantees he’s motivated to hold the UFC belt one more time.
"I’ll smother him from beginning to the end, and he will have to worry about his defense. I always saw the attack as the best defense, so I was holding myself back, thinking ‘he has this strong point,’ and that harmed me. Not anymore. I want to go in there and be myself, be who I always were. That’s what I want.
"If you fight all the time you can lose one day, so (the loss) is not stuck in my throat,” he added. "The belt is no longer with me, so that makes me more motivated to train and get it back. Holloway is just another one that I will win."