Acquiring the bantamweight championship is a goal José Aldo wants to accomplish. And he might be on his way to doing that after his performance at UFC 265 on Saturday night.
The former featherweight champion turned bantamweight contender earned a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz in the co-main event of the evening. His performance was one to marvel at as Aldo turned back the hands of time and put on a striking clinic against Munhoz, who was often met with either a crisp jab or a slick combination. Aldo is now on a two-fight win streak in the division, but he says he could not have done that without making some slight adjustments in his training.
During his post-fight press conference, Aldo explained that he knew he needed to improve his overall game after suffering a few losses. He did that by training with the Brazilian Navy in the past year or so and credits them for getting his boxing to where it is now.
“After I lost a fight I felt that I needed to incorporate more things into my repertoire and that’s how I got into Navy-sponsored boxing in Brazil,” said Aldo. “I felt that’s how it made my punches better and obviously everything upper, but I’m never gonna forget the kicks.”
The kicks Aldo refers to are what made him such a feared presence in the Octagon. Aldo was well-known for destroying a leg or two with the most devastating low kicks, but they have appeared to be used less and less in recent years. There is a reason for this and Aldo says it is to send a message to the rest of the bantamweights: the leg kicks are not the only thing you have to worry about.
“Yes, that is the message,” said Aldo. “I’ve been training this a lot and you can [count on] my hand is going to get quicker and quicker as time moves forward.”
Aldo would like to return by the end of the year and already has an opponent in mind for that next appearance. He expressed interest in a fight with T.J. Dillashaw in December. Dillashaw most recently returned to competition following the completion of a two-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and defeated Cory Sandhagen by split decision at UFC Vegas 32 in July.
Dillashaw believed that a win over Sandhagen should put him next in line to fight whoever wins the championship rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, but if that does not happen, then Aldo is available.
“It would be great for me to fight with Dillashaw,” said Aldo. “Hopefully by December, I think it would be a great fight. That’s what we expect. That’s what I’m expecting right now.”