RIO DE JANEIRO — Jose Aldo was victorious in his pro boxing debut in the main event of Friday’s Shooto Boxing card, and it’s just the start of what could be busy run for the former UFC and WEC featherweight champion.
Aldo is already booked to meet fellow UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens in a six-round boxing match on April 1 for Gamebred Boxing, and he revealed he’s in talks for a potential exhibition match with Floyd Mayweather later this year in Saudi Arabia.
Entering the squared circle for three-minute rounds after a long MMA career was a “very different” experience for the ex-champ.
“When I was warming up, the round was over,” Aldo told MMA Fighting during the post-fight press conference at Upper Arena. “I couldn’t listen to the time right. When I starting to pressure, the round ended. That was a bit different to me, but I’ve been training boxing for a while now, so I felt very comfortable in there.”
Aldo hurt Emmanuel Zambrano with a body shot midway through the match, but he couldn’t find the target again. The UFC Hall of Famer admitted he had a hard time given his opponent’s previous experience in boxing, but he said “that was my first time fighting, and I wanted to feel that.”
“I wanted to execute what we had trained,” Aldo said. “I had no pressure to get the knockout. If I had connected a good hand and he went down, great, but it was good the way it was. Doing six rounds, landing clean shots. I see no problem, I think it was a great debut.
“We always want the victory, and I obviously want the knockout, but it was good that way because he’s a tough guy. I landed good punches, clean punches, so I was happy for the debut. I could honor the work of everyone who helped me get here.”
The Brazilian star returns to action on April 1 to face Stephens. Stephens has shown great knockout power in MMA, but Aldo was the one to get the finish when the two met in the octagon.
“We have to respect the sport of boxing,” he said. “When I started focusing on this sport, I started training boxing a lot. I’m training it a lot since my last [UFC] fight. Boxing a MMA guy is not the same thing of facing a professional boxer. The stance is very different. I respect Jeremy, he’s a well-trained guy, experience, but I think we can go in there and do a great job.”