Jose Aldo, the undisputed UFC featherweight champion, is the most complete fighter in MMA today.
His striking is unparalleled in his division, and he truly strikes fear in anyone he is fighting. Aldo is a man from a humble background as he grew up in the Brazilian slums, often choosing to train to fight rather than eat. He started out as prodigy of BJJ and Carlson Gracie himself called him an up-and-coming star, but he developed incredible striking talent to become the most dangerous ‘little guy’ in the world.
Jose has long sat in the top four pound-for-pound position, falling behind to only Anderson Silva, Georges St Pierre and Jon Jones, and is currently sitting at no. 1 following Silva and St Pierre’s dethroning. I’ve long thought that if Aldo was their size, he would defeat every single one of them on his best day. It’s a bold statement, of course.
Jose Aldo has a 73 percent striking defense rate, which is the highest in the featherweight division. Many MMA fighters commit the taboo technique of moving backwards in a straight line to avoid strikes, making the threat of a knockout loss ever imminent. Aldo is not one of these fighters, and some of his footwork is simply dazzling, always circling the correct way to avoid strikes.
Jose has some of the best head movement in the sport, and always moves his head from his knees. On the rare occasion MMA fighters attempt head movement, they often incorrectly do it from their waist, opening them up to counter kicks, knees and uppercuts. Jose’s head movement is incredibly well anticipated as he drops his shoulder and weight from his knees in order to avoid strikes. This is sort of like a constricted spring-type of movement where as soon as he comes back up, his weight will shift and release a large amount of energy.
What I most enjoy of Aldo’s technique is his incredible combination of Muay Thai and boxing to create one style. He carries his hands by his chin, pumps a jab, while throwing these incredible kicks. His boxing is by far the best in the division — yes, better than those of Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson.
So, when you’re fighting a man who is inevitably going to knock you out with a knee, what do you do? You clinch him, and you take him down straight away, no question about it. What happens when that same man has a 92 percent takedown defence rate? You get knocked out. That’s generally what happens in Aldo’s fights.
Jose is the most special fighter under 205 pounds right now, and possibly the most dangerous and complete mixed martial artist in the world. Imagine what would happen if he moves to 155 pounds and gains a bigger gas tank with a smaller weight cut? It’s a scary thought considering he’s already beaten champions of that division.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.