Jose Aldo turned down a fight before agreeing to fight Jeremy Stephens.
Aldo returned to the Octagon at UFC on FOX 30 late last month (Sat. July 28, 2018) against “Lil Heathen.” The former Brazilian champ defeated Stephens via first-round TKO after landing a hellacious body shot.
It was Aldo’s first win since the summer of 2016. “Scarface” suffered the first loss of his UFC career in December of 2015. He was knocked out and dethroned from the top of the 145-pound mountain by Conor McGregor in 13 seconds.
Aldo bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar several months later. He was subsequently dethroned yet again after suffering back-to-back TKO losses to Max Holloway. Aldo once again established himself as a top contender with his victory over Stephens.
It was his first non-title fight in UFC history and the first of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career since 2009. It turns out things could’ve played out a lot differently at UFC on FOX 30.
Aldo’s coach, Andre Pederneieras, spoke to Brazilian media to talk about his star pupil’s recent win. He revealed that they decided to turn down a fight from Yair Rodriguez before accepting a fight with Stephens (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“They offered us Yair Rodriguez and it was a fight that didn’t interest us,” Pederneiras said. “He was coming off a loss, way below in the ranking.
“It’s not that we were afraid of Yair, but why am I fighting a guy [in that situation]? But when they offered someone better ranked, coming off a series of knockouts, close to a title shot, that’s worth it.”
Rodriguez is currently the No. 14-ranked featherweight in the UFC.
He’s slated to face Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 228 from the American Airlines Center on September 8th from Dallas, Texas.