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Jose Aldo’s high moments from an iconic profession

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Jose Aldo‘s legacy is wealthy with championships. He reigned with the UFC featherweight belt via a document seven title defenses, and earlier than that, he was the WEC champ. However for the person often called the King of Rio, a notable accomplishment was that he made moments come alive for followers and fellow fighters.

When information broke on Sunday that the 36-year-old Aldo was retiring from MMA with 36 victories below his belt, congratulations and respectful accolades got here pouring in from most of the sport’s greats.

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Brett Okamoto and Jeff Wagenheim are amongst longtime MMA followers who’ve been watching Aldo since he was a younger dynamo surging towards the highest of the game. From his dominance within the WEC to ESPN’s 2014 MMA combat of the yr, listed here are a few of their enduring recollections of his profession.


Aldo shuts down Swanson in Sacramento

Again in 2009, I used to be sorta-kinda an MMA fan. I would been to precisely one UFC reside occasion and would sometimes watch combat playing cards on DVDs rented from the video retailer down the block from me. Taking in a combat a number of months after it had occurred labored positive for me as a result of no newspapers I learn lined MMA and I did not observe any on-line boards, so I did not have to fret about spoilers. Why not watch reside? None of my sports activities fan buddies cared about MMA, and I wasn’t about to fork over the pay-per-view bucks on my own.

However when fights have been on free TV, I used to be all-in. So on a June night time in 2009, I tuned into Versus for WEC 41 on the outdated Arco Area in Sacramento, California. I keep in mind having fun with the principle occasion between featherweight champion Mike Brown and hometown boy Urijah Faber. I keep in mind being impressed by a few lightweights on the undercard, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. However the efficiency that made me wake the neighbors with a late-night “wow!” yelled at my TV display was turned in by a 22-year-old Brazilian named Jose Aldo.

My grandmother used to inform me that we get just one probability to make a primary impression. Nicely, what a dynamic and lasting impression Aldo made on this night time, the primary time I noticed him combat.

It took him simply 9 seconds.

That was on a regular basis he wanted to race throughout the cage and unleash a flying knee that knocked out Cub Swanson. The combat was over virtually earlier than it began. However it lasted lengthy sufficient for Aldo to make a fan of me.

5 months later, I’d be watching on TV as Aldo knocked out Brown to change into the WEC champion. Lower than a yr after that, the WEC would merge with the UFC and Aldo can be named champion of the UFC’s new 145-pound division. He would change into the best featherweight within the sport’s historical past, reigning for 4 years and making a UFC-record seven title defenses.

And but nothing that Aldo did throughout the remainder of his glory-filled profession — and there have been an entire lot of marvelous moments — made me cry out with fairly the astonishment and delirium that the buzzsaw from the Amazon drew out of me on that summer season night time in 2009. — Wagenheim


The featherweight GOATs present respect to the OG GOAT

ESPN has but to unveil its MMA Mount Rushmore of one of the best featherweights within the sport’s historical past, but it surely’s protected to say that three of the faces on the construction can be Aldo, Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski. On Sunday, the youthful 145-pound legends showered the senior weight classmate with nothing however love.


Assembly the King of Rio for the primary time

My favourite Aldo reminiscence needs to be the primary time I met him, which was additionally the primary time I ever noticed him combat. Nov. 18, 2009, WEC 44.

That was quite a lot of firsts for Aldo. It was his first time headlining a card, first title combat and first time he even appeared on a combat poster. It was additionally his first combat in Las Vegas. I keep in mind he talked about how surreal it was to see himself on a billboard in Las Vegas.

The WEC held a media exercise that week at The Palms, and Aldo was speaking to a small group about his household, and he cried when he spoke about them. Clearly, as his iconic profession performed out, we acquired to study much more about him, however I will always remember him throughout that combat week. He was a 23-year-old child who got here from a tricky upbringing in Brazil and could not consider the place life had led him. After which he got here out and simply dominated Mike Brown, a terrific fighter, and began his lengthy featherweight championship reign. — Okamoto


Jose Aldo’s KO of Chad Mendes in Rio

Already a top-tier fighter when he got here into the UFC, Aldo introduced his arrival in earnest together with his knockout of Chad Mendes.

Aldo held the WEC title for almost two years earlier than his UFC debut, when WEC was the one sport on the town for lower-weight class fighters. In 2011, the UFC absorbed WEC — and its light-weight, featherweight and bantamweight divisions — into its promotion. Aldo grew to become the primary UFC featherweight champion by advantage of the truth that he already was and had been one of the best 145-pound fighter on the planet for years.

Aldo’s debut was in a high-profile setting, defending the UFC featherweight title for the primary time at Toronto’s Rogers Centre at UFC 129 in entrance of a then-UFC-record 55,724 followers. Georges St-Pierre headlined that night time in his house nation with a win over Jake Shields. Aldo, although, confronted some adversity that night time towards Mark Hominick, gassing late. He beat fan favourite Kenny Florian six months later, a card headlined by Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3.

In his third UFC combat, Aldo was lastly given the accountability of headlining — and it got here within the Manaus, Brazil, native’s adopted hometown of Rio de Janeiro. Aldo was pitted towards Mendes at UFC 142 on Jan. 14, 2012. Mendes was an explosive, dominant wrestler with immense energy in his arms, a foe who critics on the time stated would symbolize Aldo’s hardest check up to now. May he actually get it achieved within the UFC, the very best of ranges?

The reply, after all, was a powerful sure. With one second left within the first spherical, Aldo wheeled out of a clinch place and, in a single movement, threw a knee up the center that caught Mendes flush. The sport challenger was out on affect — after which Aldo was off. He sprinted out of the Octagon and ran proper into the greater than 10,000 followers in attendance at HSBC Area. These spectators welcomed him with open arms, celebrating alongside him in a close to mosh pit of pleasure.

One in all Aldo’s many nicknames is “The King of Rio.” His crown was fitted that night time. — Raimondi




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