Jose Aldo has no shortage of motivation heading into his fight against Marlon “Chito” Vera in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 17 on Saturday night.
The former featherweight champion may be on a career-worst three-fight losing streak, but they have come against notable names in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Despite starting 2019 off with a win over Renato Moicano at UFC Fight Night: Assuncao vs. Moraes 2, Aldo came up short against Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision at UFC 237.
Aldo then moved on from the featherweight division and dropped down to bantamweight, but has yet to find success. He lost a controversial split decision to Marlon Moraes at UFC 245, but was still given a championship opportunity in his next fight—at UFC 251 against Petr Yan—who would ultimately finish Aldo by strikes in the fifth round.
Although the back-to-back losses seemingly put Aldo in a “must-win” situation, the Brazilian remains unworried by the possibility of losing again. He also still has title aspirations in the bantamweight division in spite of those previous defeats.
“I’m not feeling any pressure because I always fight with great fighters,” Aldo told reporters during his media day scrum on Thursday. “I just keep training hard and preparing for my new opponent. That’s it. I’m not feeling any pressure.
“What keeps me motivated is the victory. I’m training hard because I want to be a champion in my new division. That’s my motivator every day.”
In the face of these losses, questions have come up regarding the future of the 34-year-old in the UFC and mixed martial arts in general. Aldo said that the answers to those questions are the furthest thing from his mind right now because he is solely focused on his upcoming opponent in Vera.
Vera recently returned to the win column with a technical knockout over fast-rising sensation Sean O’Malley at UFC 252 earlier this year. From this performance alone, Aldo knows the kind of threat Vera poses, so he would rather spend his time thinking about what he needs to do to get a win right now as opposed to what the future holds.
“I always keep my career step by step. Now I just think about Marlon Vera and after Marlon Vera, I can think of the future, but not right now. I just want to think and talk about Marlon “Chito” Vera.”