Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 145-pound titleholder, Jose Aldo, is still considered the greatest featherweight champion of all time (even by this guy), so it was a bit surprising to see “Junior” playing second fiddle to Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes.
Aldo is the UFC Fight Night 144 co-main event attraction against division wunderkind Renato Carneiro. They’ll do the deed this Sat. night (Feb. 2, 2019) inside Northeast Olympic Training Center in Fortaleza, Brazil.
But Aldo insists it wasn’t his decision to go three rounds.
”I never turned anything down,” Aldo said (via MMA Fighting). “The thing about three or five rounds, it was ‘Dede’ who thought it wouldn’t be good. It’s tough to see me in the in the co-main event. Of course, respecting both of them, Raphael (and Moraes) will be the main event, (but) it’s tough to see the name I have and not being the main event. I had that in my mind, but if I got to where I am today was thanks to ‘Dede’, and he knows really well what he’s doing.”
UFC President Dana White told the mixed martial arts (MMA) media that Aldo turned down the five-round spot, but it appears that decision came from coach Andre Pederneiras, who saw no reason to put his fighter through the grind with no title shot on the line.
“Aldo became WEC champion in 2009, so we’ve been training his body for five rounds for nine years,” Pederneiras said. “There’s a huge toll in what you do. Since there’s no possibility that Aldo fights for the belt, I explained him everything and he agreed. If Dana says before the next fight, ‘This fight will determine who fights for the title,’ he will fight five, 10, 12 rounds, whatever is necessary, but that’s not the case for this fight now.”
Aldo (27-4) snapped a two-fight losing streak by stopping Jeremy Stephens at the UFC on FOX 30 event last July and is expected to move on from UFC once he finishes up his contract. Whether or not he goes on out a high note, remains to be seen.