Jose Aldo started his MMA career as a bantamweight in Brazil, but hasn’t hit that mark in more than a decade. On Dec. 13, the day before UFC 245, the former featherweight champion will have to step on the scale at 136 pounds for a fight with Marlon Moraes.
Can he do that?
Longtime training partner Eduardo Dantas is confident that he will be better than ever.
A former 135-pound champion at Bellator, “Dudu” Dantas has trained with Aldo for more than a decade at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and he spoke with MMA Fighting about his friend’s first training sessions since getting on a diet targeting his return to the Octagon as a bantamweight in December.
“Many people associate weight loss with loss of performance, but they have to look at the whole picture,” Dantas said. “Aldo always weighs around 158 pounds when he’s not training, and then goes up to 166 when in camp (for a featherweight bout), so I think it’s going to be an easy cut to bantamweight.”
Aldo told reporters during a recent media day that he currently weighs 150 pounds after getting on a diet for the first time in his life. In comparison, an out-of-camp featherweight Aldo usually walks around five pounds lighter than an out-of-camp bantamweight Dantas.
The Nova Uniao star still has several weeks to go for UFC 245, and Dantas expects him to be in phenomenal shape when he enters the eight-sided cage at T-Mobile Arena.
“He’s training hard every morning. He’s very focused,” Dantas said. “He was one of the fighters in a sparring session on Tuesday, helping guys that are about to fight, and he sparred with a 135-pounder and a 177-pounder. He’s faster now but with the same punching power, so he’s way more dangerous. He’s kicking hard and landing heavy punches. He’ll surprise everyone with his speed and punching power at bantamweight.
“I saw him sparring with a heavier guy (177 pounds), keeping the distance and countering. The hand landed and the guy felt it and immediately shot for a takedown. He hasn’t lost his punching power and he’s still weighing 150.”
Moraes, who has trained at Nova Uniao in the past, had a four-fight winning streak in the UFC snapped by two-division champion Henry Cejudo back in June. Aldo, on the other hand, looks to rebound from a decision to Alexander Volkanovski that put an end to a finishing streak against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano.
Dantas expects “fireworks” when they meet in the Octagon.
“It’s gonna be a great fight and I bet all my chips on Aldo,” Dantas said. “I train with him every day since forever and have trained with Marlon, too. Marlon is a tough fighter, very explosive with his right hand and left kicks, so you have to be careful.
“It’s a clash of similar styles, but I think Aldo’s championship experience will make the difference. I expect fireworks from this fight.”