Jose Aldo, while a great fighter, is also completely overrated as some kind of pound for pound great. Frankie Edgar is a proven top 3 fighter in a much deeper weight class, and his strength of competition is light years ahead of Aldo. I'd pick every top 5 lightweight to beat Aldo, even at 145, and Edgar is no exception.
My 8th grade English teacher told me to put my thesis statement at the beginning of an essay, so there it is. I feel like there are two Jose Aldos- the one that exists in reality, and the mythical destroyer of worlds that lives in fevered fanboy fantasies. I read these comments on Bloody Elbow debating which round Aldo will knock Edgar out in, the first or the second. I feel like I'm watching a different sport than these people. On planet Earth, Jose Aldo has a lower finish rate in UFC fights than George St. Pierre and a comparable one to Dominick Cruz. Let's parse this a little more. Aldo, who was unable to finish Kenny Florian or Mark Hominick (finished in 66% of his losses), will be the first one to finish Edgar. Edgar, who wasn't finished by BJ Penn or a 190 lbs. Gray Maynard, will be stopped for the first time by Aldo. Uh huh. If I knew how to insert images in a fanpost, I'd put the 'I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!' one in here.
This will definitely be a new kind of fight for Edgar. His usual speed advantage will undoubtedly be matched by Aldo, and he is certainly quite hittable. Contrary to what most fans believe, however, Aldo does not have extraordinary power in his hands- certainly not more than Penn or Maynard, who found Edgar to be like the Energizer Bunny in striking. I'd say the boxing is even, or even give a slight edge to Aldo. That's the only place where I see an advantage for the Brazilian though- every other card in the deck is stacked against him.
His magical leg kicks? Leg kicks are surprisingly less effective when you're on your back, and that's what this fight will come down to- wrestling, cardio, wrestling, and some more wrestling with an exhausted Aldo in the championship rounds. Aldo will land a max of two leg kicks per round before Edgar unceremoniously dumps him on his back. I'm just completely fascinated by all the comments about how Aldo will destroy Edgar's legs and blah blah blah. I mean, we all watch modern MMA right? Would you say leg kicks against an excellent wrestler is a high-percentage strategy? Edgar mixes striking and takedowns in a way few in MMA do, and has taken down every single fighter he's ever fought- including, you know, BJ Penn and Gray Maynard.
As far as the wrestling goes, I'm not sure how to delicately point out that if Kenny Florian can hold you up against a cage for the bulk of 25 minutes, you have a strength problem. Kenny. Florian. I know, with his massive brawn he's easy to confuse with Ndamukong Suh. By contrast, Edgar's physical strength is the most underrated part of his game. It's how he was able to succeed at lightweight for so long despite being undersized, it's how he fought off the massive Gray Maynard, and it's why his fights with Bendo were so close. Henderson spends almost half of every round smothering his opponents up against the fence to wear them out for later- because he couldn't do so to Edgar, it forced the fight out in the open. There, Edgar's speed and in-and-out striking gave him a slight advantage and made the fights quite close. At any rate, I'm getting far afield- my basic point is that the only guy to take down BJ Penn at lightweight in the last 8 years can probably take down Jose Aldo.
Cardio, I feel like I shouldn't even have to address. I know I know- a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy said Aldo was sick in the Hominick fight. Maybe yes, maybe no. All I can say is, one contestant in this fight has proven cardio for days in multiple championship fights, and the other has done nothing of the kind- and has a reputation for cruising in rounds 4 and 5 if he's ahead on the scorecards. Which one do you think an objective observer would say has the better endurance?
Last but not certainly not least is strength of competition. Frankly, knocking out Jonathan Brookins and Cub Swanson 5 years ago is the equivalent of wins on the regional circuit today. Aldo has ruled over a relatively shallow and divided weight class until recently (and there's still a good deal of talent outside the UFC). Edgar, by contrast, has faced and mostly beaten a murderer's row of opponents in the deepest weightclass in the sport. If I were a talent scout, I'd give Edgar's strength of competition an A+, and Aldo's a C. I just think a track record of being among the very best- while being undersized- is vastly more impressive than crushing a much lower level of competition in the WEC, sorry.
If this fanpost has a slightly sarcastic tone, it's because I'm completely bewildered by this fantastical inclusion of Aldo among the pound for pound greats. Is he a very good fighter? Yes, absolutely. Should a guy who couldn't finish Mark Hominick be placed in a class with Anderson Silva and Jon Jones? Ummmmm...... no.
I'm throwing the gauntlet down here- Aldo's overrated and Edgar will cruise to a 5 round decision. The UFC's been pushing him hard for a while now, and maybe this will be what it takes for him to break into the mainstream of popularity. I wish you luck Aldo, but get used to staring up at the stadium ceiling from your back- you'll be spending 20-odd minutes there fairly soon.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.