Jose Aldo Wants to Accomplish as much as Anderson Silva has, and more

photo by Heidi Fang for MMA Fight Corner

UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (21-1, MMA) sat down with Las Vegas media at the Mandalay Bay on Wednesday and said he is looking to broaden his horizons with the UFC and accomplish one of his career goals by switching weight classes following his title defense to former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (14-3, 1 draw, MMA).

If it were up to Aldo, he would have already moved up to lightweight to confront new challenges. But his coach, Andre Pederneiras wants him to wait.

“It all depends on this fight. My trainer, Pederneiras, thinks that I’m not quite ready to go up yet. When he thinks I’m ready to go up, I will go up,” Aldo said via translator. “And once I beat Frankie Edgar, I’m sure that I can prove that I can fight one notch above.”

“I believe that I’m ready, but [Pederneiras] believes that I’m still too young, and so he’s keeping me back. But I feel I’m fully capable of fighting a category above,” Jose said via translator.

The champ believes the only reason his trainer doesn’t want him to move up yet, is simply because Jose is cleaning out the competition at 145. Jose explained that at 26-years-old, he doesn’t have any problem making the cut down to featherweight, but he’s realizing as he gets older, he’s bulking up and 145 pounds is getting harder to make.

Based on his own personal goals that he’s laid out for himself, and even with a 14-fight win streak and only one loss to his name, Aldo feels there’s still plenty of challenges for him to take on in the featherweight division.

“I believe there’s still a lot to be done. One of my dreams was to be a champion, I am. I have achieved that. There’s a lot still that can be achieved. I think that this upcoming fight is a super fight vs Frankie Edgar, I think it’s going to be great. But I have a dream, I think that I can achieve a lot at [155] while maintaining my weight.”

Another dream of the Manaus, Brazil native is to one day become a champion in not just two, but three weight classes. Going to down to bantamweight is also an idea the champ has pondered. Aldo explained that if he was offered a title shot bantamweight, he’d do it. If he could reign in three different weight classes, he’d be the first to do it within the UFC.

“It has been a dream. Nobody has beaten that record yet,” said Aldo. “But someday I hope to achieve that, I’d like to make history.”

With high hopes for being able to accomplish new things and break new records, “Scarface” said his own aspirations are to eclipse what UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva has done in the sport.

“I would like to do as much as Anderson has done. I’d like to go up [to lightweight] and fight for the championship, obtain the championship and then go back to [145]. If I’m able to keep both [belts] I would try that,” said Aldo.

As he approaches making his 4th title defense with the UFC at 145 lbs., he knows that Edgar presents one of the toughest competitors he’s had to face. Being on the UFC’s annual Super Bowl card, amps up the battle even more. “It’s a very important championship, the whole world is tuned in. For me to be able to fight that weekend is absolutely amazing. I can hardly wait to go the gym to train and practice a lot so I can come back and put on a major performance for everybody that’s going to be watching.”

This year, Aldo was first expected to fight Erik Koch at UFC 149 in July, but Aldo pulled out with a thigh injury. Their bout was rescheduled for UFC 153 in October, but this time, Koch pulled out after injuring himself. Edgar was announced as Koch’s replacement and despite Aldo withdrawing from the fight because of his foot injury, the match up stuck.

While Aldo said that he was upset to lose Koch as an opponent, Edgar was too good of a fight for him to pass up. It was also his belief that fans would want to see two champions compete more than anything. When Aldo steps into the Octagon to meet Edgar, it will have been 13 months since he last fought.

“I can hardly wait to get back in and fight. For me, the desire to keep fighting has remained the same even though it has been almost about a year. I feel like the desire to fight and win has remained the same as if I’d been fighting every single day.”

When Jose found out that his injury stemming from his accident was too severe to take on Edgar in their first bout scheduled for UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he was upset that he’d let down the UFC, his fans and even himself.

“I was very sad with myself more than anything, especially because of my fans, many people, my fans were upset because I was unable to fight. I asked the UFC to keep the fight because I respect Frankie. I think he is a great fighter, he’s been a champion at [155] and it was really, very important for me to have this fight.”

A man as indestructible as Aldo’s has shown few, if any, weaknesses for others to exploit. To improve his skills the Nova Uniao trained fighter, has brought in UFC lightweight Gray Maynard and kickboxer, Andy Souwer to his camp.  With Frankie’s wrestling pedigree and striking ability, Aldo knows Edgar won’t ease up his fast-paced style when they meet in February.

“Frankie puts a lot of pressure on his opponents, he moves a lot, and he fought at [lightweight], where it isn’t so explosive. In [featherweight], there’s a lot of explosion,” Aldo stated. “Now he’s going to fight among people with the same kind of training and explosiveness he has.”

Although Edgar has only had three opponents in the past couple of years and Aldo has defeated multiple opponents, never facing the same man twice, Jose doesn’t necessarily see that as an advantage. The way he sees it, Frankie’s abilities and his are at the same level, regardless of who their opponent is.

“That could be an advantage. However, I’m sure he’s studying my fights, just as I’m studying his. Each fight is its own fight, you can never really predict, so we’ll have to see how it works out. Supposedly, I could have an advantage because of that, but that can remain in theory only.”

From a poor upbringing and being hungry on the streets, to training MMA and wearing the shiny, gold strap around his waist, Jose Aldo has proven that he can do anything he sets his mind to, and more.

UFC 156, the annual Super Bowl card, with take place on February 2, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar who are squaring off for the UFC Featherweight Championship. Tickets go on sale Friday, November 30, and will be available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

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