Jose Aldo lost the UFC Featherweight Title via third round TKO to Max Holloway earlier this month at UFC 212.
According to Aldo’s longtime coach in Andre Pederneiras, the former champion was dealing with a leg injury leading up to the title fight.
The coach made a long statement on Fox Fight Club, where he explained just what the former champion was going through:
“Aldo came into the fight well, we did all the preparation. But athletes walk into every fight with some type of injury, things like that. Aldo, no different than everyone else, had that. Many people ask why he didn’t throw kicks – Aldo had a leg injury, so he couldn’t do any kicking throughout the camp, he couldn’t run, do any of that. Not that it takes away from Max Holloway and his win, we’re not saying that at all, but many people asked why he didn’t kick. It’s funny, because every round, I’d step down (from the octagon) and the crowd would be like, ‘Tell him to kick!’ and I’d say ‘OK, hang on’ and I’d turn around and only us in the corner knew. We were really avoiding the kicks because of this injury. We were afraid (the muscle) would tear there. So we spent the entire camp working the boxing, takedowns and the ground. Since Aldo felt good in the first two rounds with the boxing, he won the first two, he said he’d keep it going there until a point in which he could take him down, without worrying too much about taking him down then. But then a punch landed and it all fell apart. It’s part of fighting – hats off to Max, he did his job. He saw a moment in which Aldo felt the blow and left no chance for Aldo to recover.
Watching the fight, we saw it could have gone on a little longer, maybe if the round had concluded he could have recovered. Or not, there’s no telling. Of course, when someone gets punched in the head a lot, you can’t tell how he’s going to come back for the next round. (Aldo) says he was feeling well and the blows that he was taking by the end, when ‘Big John’ stopped it, were blows that Max was only throwing to show the ref that he was beating him up and (Aldo) wasn’t responding. (Aldo) says he even gave the thumbs up to let ‘Big John’ know. But the rule is clear: If you’re in the same position, not attempting to get out of it, the ref has the right to stop it. And that’s what ‘Big John’ did. Not blaming ‘Big John’ at all for having interrupted it at that time.
But that’s part of fighting. It’s what I tell all of my athletes: ‘You’re going in there, you can either lose or win.’ The only one who’s going to tell you what’s going to happen is God, who’s going to tell you go this way or that way. That day, God wanted Max to be champion. Congratulations to Max, who’s an amazing person. (Who’s) a humble and respectful person. We expect a rematch, for sure. But Aldo will probably have to do a fight before a title rematch. In a possible fight between Holloway and (ex-lightweight-champ Frankie) Edgar, I don’t know if it will be Holloway or Edgar in the event of Aldo winning his next fight. It’s a very tough fight. Edgar is a very experienced fighter, very well-rounded, who’s a handful for anyone in the division.
A few positions, especially the kicks, he felt a lot. So we carried on training slower so it wouldn’t burst. Could he do boxing practice? Yes. Could he do wrestling practice? Yes. Could he do ground practice? Yes. But, for instance, when he kicked, or defended a takedown in which he put a lot of strain in the leg, he felt it a lot. So we adapted it, and he was able to train. Even though we didn’t get him to throw kicks, or do sprints – we opted to do other types of work to make up for that. And he was able to maintain and carry on. In the final week, we did some kicking, but we didn’t force it too much because it was too last minute and also it wouldn’t be that useful. And we believed that, the way he was going, that he’d be able to win the fight with his boxing. And that’s what was happening. We adapted it and we noticed he could still train well. Unlike the other times, in which he couldn’t even train.”
For Aldo, the loss to Holloway was just the second during his UFC tenure, the other came to UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor at UFC 194.