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Jose Aldo: ‘It means a lot’ to be considered one of the greatest of all time, but I’m not done just yet

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Jose Aldo has accomplished a lot during his career, but he’s not done racking up accolades just yet.

Earlier this year, the former featherweight champion attempted to add another UFC title to his collection when he battled Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 251.

Despite a back-and-forth war through the majority of the fight, Aldo was eventually finished by strikes, and Yan became the new champion at 135 pounds. According to Aldo, he wasn’t necessarily disappointed in his performance but rather just the outcome.

“I think it was a great fight,” Aldo said via translator during the UFC Vegas 17 media day. “The only thing missing was the result, but I think it was an excellent fight. I think it was a good performance, I did well among the things I set out to do.”

Regardless of how that fight played out, Aldo is still routinely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the UFC after his longtime reign over the featherweight division. The fact that he just competed for the bantamweight title speaks to the level at which he competes after 35 professional fights and 16 years in the cage.

Aldo certainly appreciates the way he’s regarded in terms of his legacy, but the setback against Yan only served as additional motivation to keep pushing forward to accomplish even more.

“It means a lot,” Aldo said about his place in the history of the sport. “I wanted to be one of the greatest when I started in this sport. I respect everybody, it means a lot, but I’m still active, I still think I have a lot left to do.

“It’s a legacy I set out to do, so I want to win all my fights. My dream is to become the champion in this division, that’s why I moved down in weight, so this is my biggest dream. It’s quite distant right now – we need to walk one step at a time.”

The first step comes against Marlon “Chito” Vera this weekend, and despite just fighting for the title, Aldo is still searching for his first official win at bantamweight. He lost a razor-close decision in his debut at 135 pounds before falling to Yan in July, but he still doesn’t believe he’s in a must-win situation.

“I feel no pressure whatsoever,” Aldo said. “I’ve always had great performances and lost to people well-ranked, so I have no pressure. It’s only my third fight in the division, I’ve accepted a challenge and I think I’m doing well on it.”

Coming off a win over highly-touted prospect Sean O’Malley earlier this year, Vera, a former Ultimate Fighter Latin America competitor is riding a wave of momentum heading into the fight against Aldo.

That’s just one of the many reasons why the Brazilian legend isn’t thinking about getting back into title contention any time soon, or what comes next after Saturday night. He needs to get past Vera first before he can think about anything that happens afterward.

“I’ll always think my next opponent is a great opponent,” Aldo said. “No matter who that is, I put them up high at the top so the fight becomes big

“I have to take one step at a time. First, I think about Marlon Vera now, and then I have to win again, and then, who knows in the near future, if Petr still has the belt, I can fight him.”