There was a time when former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Jose Aldo was the baddest man in the 145-pound weight class, racking up 18 straight wins with nine violent finishes.
That time is now gone.
Supplanting Aldo atop the featherweight throne is the indomitable Max Holloway, who finished what he started back in June by smashing the Brazilian in the main event of last night’s UFC 218 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Detroit, Michigan.
Aldo took the fight on short notice when Frankie Edgar, originally “Blessed” to be the UFC 218 headliner, was forced to withdraw from the “Motor City” fight card after breaking his orbital bone in training camp.
I wish we could blame fatigue for the poor performance, but Aldo (26-4) was simply outclassed and beaten pillar to post. Sure, “Junior” landed his share of strikes, but the Hawaiian walked right through them and uncorked a dozen or so punches in return.
It’s scary to think what Holloway, still just 25, can do moving forward, as he appears to be getting better each time out. Much like the Aldo of old, the champ has now notched 12 in a row with nine stoppages.
It’s a shame Conor McGregor abandoned his post at 145 pounds, because “Notorious” was the last man to defeat Holloway in a three-round battle way back at UFC Fight Night 26, and it was hardly a blowout.
Where does that leave Aldo?
As a fan, I really have no interest in seeing him keep the gate. He’s already beaten everyone else in the top five and I’m not sure an eventual Cub Swanson rematch is enough reason to hang around the division.
Aldo has long teased a jump up to lightweight. His muscular frame provides very little latitude when it comes to cutting weight and the Brazilian is now 31-years old and 30 fights into his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
In the old days, fighters who struggled to stay competitive in their current weight class would drop down a division and hope for the best, even it if damn-near killed them. Nowadays, fighters are heading in the other direction.
Robert Whittaker dropped two straight fights as a welterweight and got finished by Stephen Thompson. After packing his bags and moving to middleweight, “The Reaper” captured eight straight, including wins over Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero.
Rafael dos Anjos recently said goodbye to the lightweight division and is now one fight away from a welterweight title shot.
If Aldo’s chin is gone, there is no weight class that can renew his lease on MMA life. That’s just a sad reality of the fight game. But I’m pretty sure if he takes six months off to rest his brain and comes back healthy and revitalized at 155 pounds, he can give the fans — and himself — another great chapter in his storied combat sports career.
For much more on UFC 218 click here.