You can say that Jose Aldo was back to his old self against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265. He employed a fluid combination of attacks to the head and body, but perhaps most notably, the patented leg kicks were back.
It was definitely a delight for fans to see glimpses of “vintage” Aldo back in action. Retired undefeated ex-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, was far from impressed.
“How is he showing (he is peaking again)? He got beat up when he fought… Who’d he fight? He fought Petr (Yan) right?” Khabib said during the recent Gorilla Fighting Championship press conference (translation via RT Sport).
“A guy wins one fight and everyone starts talking. When Conor fought Cowboy, he looked like a lion. When he fights stronger opponents, he looks like a scared chicken.
“Fighting top fighters shows your worth. Like I said, the level of Russia’s football team will be shown against Croatia, not Malta. A fight against Cowboy won’t show what level you’re at. Just like Aldo’s fight against Pedro Munhoz.”
“The Eagle” has always been stern in the belief that no fighter can peak more than once in his career. With regards to Aldo, he wants to see another fight against Petr Yan before making any conclusions.
“Let him fight Petr the same way, then we can say he’s peaking again,” he said. “You saw what he did. He closed up and waited for the ref to stop the fight. That shows you’re not at your peak.
“If you’re getting hit and you’re conscious and you’re not defending yourself… I call those fighters businessmen, they come out to make money. There are real champions that go hard on everyone. They don’t care how the money — of course, it’s an important aspect — but he has the competitive spirit. So there’s no way Aldo’s having a second peak.
“You can try to prove it all you want, but I’ve been through this. I know better, thank you. You’re a journalist, and I’m a fighter.”