There was a minor uproar following the UFC 251 pay-per-view (PPV) title fight last month on “Fight Island,” when newly-crowned bantamweight champion Petr Yan pummeled top contender Jose Aldo for what seemed like an eternity.
Referee Leon Edwards took his sweet time halting the action in the fifth and final round, and while armchair officials like Joe Rogan were yelling to “stop the fight,” the man who was actually absorbing the punishment seemed to be taking it in stride.
“The referee was great, man – excellent work by the referee,” Aldo told MMA Fighting. “It’s hard to think about stopping a title fight. If he stopped it early, everyone would talk about it. I wasn’t out at any moment. I went down and was trying to recover. Getting punched once or twice more won’t make any difference in your life. You’re willing to do it. What if the referee doesn’t stop it there, I recover and land a good one that knocks him out? Every referee goes to our locker room before the fight to go over the rules, and I always tell them to not stop the fight, only if I have no reaction. As long as I’m fighting, let me in there. It’s part of the sport.”
Aldo is now 0-2 since dropping down to the 135-pound division and while “Junior” insists he won his bantamweight debut against Marlon Moraes at UFC 245, the record books will reflect a defeat and jeopardize the Brazilian’s standings in the official rankings.
It will be interesting to see how the promotion moves forward, particularly in terms of matchmaking. I can’t help but wonder if Aldo will run into “Sugar” Sean O’Malley if the undefeated bantamweight manages to get past Marlon Vera at UFC 252.