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Dana White: Jose Aldo Is Not the Sport's Top Fighter

via WEC
via WEC

Rocky Balboa never lived up to his trainer's high expectations. Mick, who had worked with the greats like Rocky Marciano, wanted the Italian pug to eat lightning and crap thunder.

"You're going to become a very dangerous person."

For the most part, Rocky just blocked punches with his head, signed a power of attorney to give his drunken brother in law control of his finances, and ended up destitute on the streets of Philadelphia. He never ate a bit of lightning. Only crapped the occasional thunder. He was a danger mostly to himself. But Jose Aldo? He's another story all together.

The WEC featherweight champion is faster than lightning, with punches that pop louder than thunder. He brained Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51, just months after making former champ Urijah Faber's leg look like a test subject for the fine folks at crayola (apparently looking for just the right shade to call "bruise.") Aldo shows the potential to be one of the sport's all-time greats. No less an authority than Sports Illustrated's Josh Gross says he may already be the best fighter in the sport:

At the head of a division that has quickly become one of MMA's most fascinating, Aldo appears ready and worthy of being mentioned among the sport's best fighters. I ranked "Junior" third on my pound-for-pound list in recent months and strongly considered elevating him after Thursday night's performance -- even if it meant topping George St. Pierre or Anderson Silva.

Others have taken the leap and are calling Aldo the top man in the business. Slow down.

UFC President Dana White calls himself a Jose Aldo fan. But White thinks calling him the best is a bit hasty. OK, it's Dana White - his actual words, charmingly provided to Comcast's Carmichael Dave, were a bit more colorful:

"Listen moron, I'm at dinner right now (hours after WEC 51). But you're really pissing me off," White said. "Anderson Silva is a pain in my ass. This isn't Chuck Liddell, we aren't best friends. But you can't deny what the man has done...He (Silva) HASNT LOST in the UFC! The guy has not only cleared out his division, he's gone up to 205 (from 185) and beaten a guy like Forrest Griffin (former 205 champ), who beat Rampage Jackson AND (current champ) Shogun Rua...And Frankie Edgar is right there too. I might actually put him at No. 2. This guy is for real. He beat BJ Penn twice, and kicked his ass in their last fight. I love and respect Manny Gamburyan, but he's no BJ Penn. And the only thing keeping GSP (170 pound champ Georges St. Pierre) out of the top 3 is (a KO loss) to Matt Serra."

Aldo is an exciting young fighter. But I don't think you become the top fighter in the sport by beating Mike Brown and Manny Gamburyan. It's easy to look pretty impressive against midlevel competition - beating BJ Penn and Forrest Griffin is something else entirely. Professional wrestler Ric Flair said it best. "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." And while I respect Mike Brown, brother, he's not the man.

The featherweight division is just to fresh and shiny new to call anyone from the 145 pound class the best in the world. We are still sorting out the wheat from the chaff- some WEC officials believe it will be two years before the division has worked itself out. Until then, it's hard to say how good Aldo really is. It looks like the answer is "really good." But until he tests himself against other known quantities, it's hard to call him the best.

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