Saturday night at UFC 142 in Rio, Featherweight champion Jose Aldo successfully defended his title against Team Alpha Male wrestler Chad Mendes in what many (including myself) consider the finest performance of his very young career. It was clear from the opening bell that Mendes had no answer for Aldo. Once we realized that the challenger was unable to take the champ down into his world, you got the feeling you were watching a vicious predator stalk its prey. Mendes biggest strength and only means of escape from certain death, was his speed and athleticism but that was completely nullified by Aldos brilliant onslaught of technical violence. Every takedown was denied and every leg kick was returned with much more ferocity. Mendes was doomed, and late in the first round he finally met his fate. After commiting himself to taking Aldo down against the cage the champ unleashed a devastating knee. Mendes was left unconscious.
What took place next is one of the most electrifying moments in MMA history...
Flying high on the adrenaline of the moment Aldo ran out of the cage and into the crowd to be embraced. As the crowd went into a frenzy Aldo was hoisted onto the shoulders of his fellow Brazillians. We weren't just watching a fighter celebrate a win, we were watching a star being born. We witnessed a country put a man who is from the worst parts of that nation be embraced like a national hero. The moment that crowd erupted they poured their hopes and dreams into him. Most of us will never achieve that level of success, when you're from where Aldo is your chances of succeeding are even more slim and when you consider that, what this young man achieved is even more impressive. He represents thousands of urban youth that will probably never make it out of ghettos all over the world. Nothing was ever given to him, he worked his way up using his athletic gifts and work ethic.
What the UFC (and sports in general) needs is more Jose Aldos and fewer athletes attempting to be the "heel" to market themselves. Aldo has become one of the biggest stars in Brazil by being genuine, humble and winning convincingly. Jose Aldo is the true peoples champ.
Please stop by my blog! www.NothingElseMMAtters.com