MMA Nation was in attendance at yesterday's open workouts for UFC 136 and spoke with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo through a translator. Aldo is preparing for his second UFC title defense, this time against Kenny Florian. The Brazilian phenom has been dealing with many questions about his ability to keep fighting at featherweight. Aldo, who is considered by many to be one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world, dealt with fans who questioned his ability to make the appropriate weight cut after fading against Mark Hominick at UFC 129 in Toronto in what was ultimately a winning effort..
This week, the UFC released a video of Aldo's horrific cut to 145lbs for his fight with Hominick. Unbeknownst at the time, he was dealing with medial issues that made the cut even more impossible. Aldo, who is 25, is finally growing into his body and knows that his time at 145lbs is limited. His translator explains, "He said it's not up to him. It's up to Andre Pederneiras his coach, the managers, the UFC to really knows what time will be the perfect time to go up but right now he feels that there are enough challenges at 145."
Speaking of the difficult weight cut, Aldo's translator insists "this time is gonna be a lot easier. The last time he hadn't fought for a few months so he was out of the weight cutting loop for a little while so it was a little harder but this time he came in a lot lighter and it's gonna be a lot easier."
His opponent this week is Florian, a two-time lightweight title challenger and runner-up in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. While Florian has come up short in his previous attempts to capture UFC gold, he does present some problems for the young Brazilian fighter. Among them is Florian's well-known ability to fight measured and not get caught in a brawl. Aldo agrees, his translator says, telling us "he's not even sure that he should be expecting Kenny to be attacking all the time. He thinks that Kenny will have a real strategic fight. A very smart fight and try and counter attack him but it's a matter of stepping in there and seeing what happens."
Perhaps most importantly, Aldo addressed some concerns he has been overlooked by the UFC as this is his second title defense in the co-main event role. It is a valid question with many people sharing the opinion the casual UFC fan will never accept the lighter weight classes.
It's the equivalent of crocodile tears from the media who ignore the very apparent fact that UFC 136 is home to two lighter weight title fights. Aldo agrees via his translator who said, "it doesn't matter. He just wants to be part of history and part of this event."
If Aldo makes history on Saturday and eventually moves to lightweight, his days as an anonymous champion aren't long for this world.