Jose Aldo feels better than ever at bantamweight as he looks to become a two-division champion this weekend.
Aldo faces Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight strap at UFC 251 which takes place July 11 on Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island. It will be his second outing at 135 pounds after suffering a controversial split decision defeat to Marlon Moraes back in December which many observers felt he should have won.
Regardless, the former featherweight king will still get his shot at becoming champion in another division and it’s a prospect that has motivated him for a while.
“I always dreamed of winning a belt in another division, and after I reached the bantamweight category with no problems, that motivated me a lot,” Aldo said in a recent interview (via Sherdog). “I’ve been training really hard since January, once I was supposed to fight with [Henry] Cejudo. You won’t believe how well trained I am for this fight.”
Aldo Adapted Body For Bantamweight
Although there were concerns about him making the weight, Aldo was able to do it against Moraes and performed well on the night.
Recently, the Brazilian even claimed cutting down to 135 was easier than his previous cuts to 145 and believes he is stronger and faster than anyone else in the division. For him, it’s a result of adapting his body as well as personal changes to his life.
“I’m feeling better than ever,” Aldo said. “I adapted my body again and that changed my whole life for the better. And I’m talking not only about professional life but also my personal life. Today I’m a new Aldo who has a much better life. You can bet I’m much stronger and faster than anyone in that division in the UFC.”
However, he faces a tough task in Yan who is 6-0 since signing with the UFC. The pair notably trained together in the past and Aldo has nothing bad to say about him.
That said, he will always be looking for the knockout.
“He came to Nova União when I was going to fight against Frankie Edgar. Very young, very raw in the ground,” Aldo explained. “But he was welcomed as any other foreigner who came to help our camps. So I don’t see any reason for him to say bad things about me. I also went to Russia and he welcomed me there too. But that’s our job.
“We are both in a quest for a dream and when the Octagon door closes, we will do our best to beat each other. I studied a lot of his fights. I know what he does. I trained a lot of kickboxing for this fight, and all I can say is that you will see me looking for knockout all the time. And I’m not talking only about Yan, but anyone you put in front of me. It can be a K-1 champion or a wrestler. I’ll fight having fun, like WEC times, looking for the knock out all the time.”
Aldo doesn’t plan on retiring should he win the belt, either.
Turning 34 in September, he hopes to fight three more times after this weekend before retiring at the age of 35.
“I recovered my motivation and I’m not planning to stop soon,” he added. “Many fighters sign their contracts and believe they need more money after each win. That’s definitely not my case, I’m very happy with my contract renewal. After I beat Petr, I want to fight one more time this year and maybe next year make more two fights and finish my career at 35 years old. That’s how I’ve always dreamed about finishing my career in the UFC.”
What do you make of Aldo’s comments?