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Urijah Faber says it’s a ‘crazy thing’ that Jose Aldo is still so good: ‘We’ll be friends until we’re old, old dogs’

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If you were to draw up a list of athletes who laid the groundwork for MMA’s modern day lighter-weight divisions, it wouldn’t be compete without Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo.

Faber and Aldo paved the way for countless fighters in the lower weight divisions with their runs as champions in the WEC. The two legends even met in the only pay-per-view event the original WEC ever held before its merger with the UFC — WEC 48 — which saw Aldo turn Faber’s legs black and blue in a vicious performance to defend his featherweight title.

Since then, they’ve been supporters of one another from afar. But after watching Aldo continue to stack up wins over UFC contenders in multiple divisions with his recent romp over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265, the now-retired Faber can’t help but marvel at what his old WEC running mate is still doing in his 17th year of professional competition.

“I love Aldo,” Faber said recently on The MMA Hour. “I’ve always said Aldo is one of the best pound-for-pound guys on the planet, for sure. I mean, the [run] that he went [on] — and he really carries himself like a champion too, like the way he lives his life, the way he’s constantly improving. Even leaving no stone unturned by dropping down a weight when I know that was a difficult thing. We’ve always had mutual respect.

“I found a picture from like 11 years ago after we fought,” Faber continued. “We were all at dinner and Jon Jones was just getting going, and we’re in Vegas somewhere having dinner and I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy. But I don’t think he was hugging me because he felt bad about my leg. I was just joking around.”

Faber was referencing a recent video he posted on Instagram of a reunion he had with Aldo prior to UFC 265. In the clip, the two former rivals share a friendly embrace on a UFC bus after running into one another during fight week in Houston. In his caption, Faber joked that Aldo still feels bad for the grisly damage Aldo inflicted on Faber’s leg at WEC 48 in 2010.

While Faber has retired twice from MMA — first in 2016 and again in 2019 following a brief UFC comeback — Aldo has continued to thrive. The former UFC featherweight champion has won back-to-back fights in his new home at 135 pounds, defeating the likes of Marlon Vera and Munhoz while showcasing much of the same speed and technical expertise that carried him to a legendary run as the best 145-pound fighter in the world.

In the aftermath of UFC 265, Aldo told MMA Fighting that he is determined to capture the UFC bantamweight belt and secure the title of two-division champion before his career is done. And considering how good future Hall of Famer still looks nearly two decades into his MMA run, Faber has plenty of belief that Aldo will be able to do exactly that.

“That’s the crazy thing,” Faber said. “And it’s funny, I remember the first time I met Aldo. His debut in the WEC was in Sacramento, and he came up to me in the hotel room and introduced himself, gave me a big hug and asked if we could take a picture together. And that’s the same with (Petr) Yan when I met Yan in Singapore. And I remember when I was younger and when I was taking pictures of guys that I knew I would probably or looked up to and whatnot — that’s a motivation thing. And I remember knowing when we took that picture that this is going to be probably a target on the wall. But that’s this world we live in.

“This world is as close to nature as you get, man. It’s like a circle of life and I love that about the sport. So Aldo’s great. We’ll be friends until we’re old, old dogs.”