José Aldo (da Silva Oliveira) Junior, is a former three-time UFC Featherweight Champion, who established a martial arts career through a blend of pure fighting spirit, explosive power, and sacrifice. Despite his poor and rough upbringing, Aldo did not let the odds against him impede his drive (instead converting them into tailwinds) to fight for the championship belt and become one of the greatest featherweights to compete in MMA history.
Born in Manaus, Brazil, “Junior” was dropped as an infant onto a barbeque leaving a permanent scar on the left side of his face. Even as a baby, it seems he persevered and fought. Jump years ahead to his adolescent days and Aldo was found fighting in street brawls but unfortunately, getting beaten up.
As predicted, he did not let this deter him from wanting to defend himself better so he trained in Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art combining dance and acrobatics into a mystifying fighting style. Aldo primarily trained Capoeira until a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instructor noticed his talent inviting him to a session where afterwards, he decided to pursue training in BJJ.
As of July 14, 2020, “Junior” ranks 6th in UFC Bantamweight and 15th in UFC Featherweight rankings. Despite his recent losses it doesn’t change the fact that Aldo is an imposing elite martial artist with an exciting highlight reel of finishes and knockouts. After a few other intriguing background details, let’s dig right into Jose “Junior” Aldo’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
Back to the story…At 17 years-old, with only the clothes on his back and his hardened will to fight, “Junior” moved from Manaus to Rio De Janeiro training BJJ and later on, Luta Livre, (catch or grappling-style of wrestling) kickboxing, Muay Thai boxing, and wrestling at team “Nova União”.
His undeniable work ethic was evident as his accolades include a black belt in BJJ under Andre Pederneiras and in Luta Livre under Marco Ruas. This led Aldo, due to his grappling prowess, to being chosen for the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world and National Team Championships in 2001 and 2003, securing 2 gold medals and 1 bronze medal in the 64kg category.
His MMA debut in 2004 was a knockout literally, putting his opponent “Mario Bigola” to sleep in just 16 seconds with a vicious head kick. This catapulted “Junior” into a 7-consecutive winning streak disposing of his competitors convincingly by 1st round TKO/KO, or submission defeat.
The MMA community notably remembers Aldo as the former featherweight champion who got knocked out cold by Conor McGregor in 13 seconds. Unfortunately, those 13 seconds are a pale representation of “Junior’s” full fighting skill as he is well known for his explosiveness, lightning speed, and seamless counters.
Aldo’s strengths are explicit from his martial arts record holding 28 wins with 17 TKO/KO and 1 submission. It’s rather surprising that José Aldo does not have more submission wins since his credentials showcase his grappling proficiency. Regardless, his dynamism allowed him to excel in every fighting facet where no one would really want to take on those strikes head on!
When it comes to sharpening tools before upcoming bouts, a solid team is necessary for those intense training camps. That’s why at team “Nova União”, there are past title holders who are more than capable of being challenging training partners; including former UFC Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn, former Bellator Champion Eduardo Dantas, former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barão, and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. An insanely talented peer group team which would definitely push you to your limits!
After experiencing his first loss in a 2005 lightweight MMA bout, “Junior” made a decision to stay in featherweight and fight for the title. From 2006-2014, Aldo had a scorchingly successful streak amassing 18 wins in a row, managing to be undefeated for 8 years in the featherweight division.
- Vs. Rolando Perez — WEC 38 (Jan. 25, 2009)
- Vs. Jeremy Stephens — UFC on Fox 30 (July 28, 2018)
- Vs. Chad Mendes — UFC 142 (Jan. 14, 2012)
- Vs. Cub Swanson — WEC 41 (June 7, 2009)
- Vs. Mike Brown — WEC 44 (Nov 18, 2009)
At 22 years-old, Jose Aldo’s 14th professional mixed martial arts featherweight bout was against a young and hungry Rolando Perez at World Extreme Cage fighting (WEC) 38. Both were eager to prove their worth and showcase their talent but inevitably, “Junior’s” unrelenting pressure and power would make it a one-sided affair.
Round one begins with Aldo and Perez quickly engaging one another; Rolando throwing jabs to check the distance and test Aldo’s speed, whilst “Junior” is constantly active with smooth slips, rolls, and slick head movement. Perez throws combinations catching Aldo at times, but Jose responds with devastating punch and leg kick combinations.
Shots are traded but Perez seems to be absorbing most of the damage; however, he manages to hold his own and not be overwhelmed by Aldo’s ferocious counters.
At 4 minutes, 12 seconds, Perez attempts to throw a body jab but a well-timed knee by Aldo dazes and floors his opponent. “Junior” follows up with four more punches before the referee, Jon Schorle, calls the match.
After losing two title shot bouts against former featherweight champion Max Holloway, Aldo was on a two-fight losing streak and was set to face featherweight heavy hitter, Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens.
Similar to most of his matches, Aldo engages Stephens with a quick pace, throwing punching combinations and timing counters, whilst Stephens goes brawl-like earlier on in the round. Shots are exchanged between the two but both maintain their ground.“Junior” is the aggressor, here cutting off Stephens whenever he tries edging into space forcing him to move laterally.
With 41 seconds left in the first round, strikes are exchanged and Aldo throws two powerful hooks to Stephen’s body. They hurt “Lil’ Heathen” and he falls to the canvas. Aldo grounds and pounds to win the fight by technical knockout (punches).
This was Aldo’s third title defense for the featherweight title where he faced an exceptional wrestler and contender. (Although, ultimately Mendes would only add to Aldo’s long list of conquests.)
In typical Aldo fashion, throughout the round “Junior” chops down Mendes’ front leg. Mendes attempts to jump in with hook shots and upper cuts but to no avail.
With a minute left, Mendes attempts a takedown and ends clinching up on Aldo against the cage. “Junior” keeps his composure, maintaining his position – both are fighting for control. Mendes loses grip and Aldo turns. The next move has Mendes go for another takedown attempt but it is caught by a perfectly timed knee, knocking out Chad Mendes with just a second to go.
“Junior’s” pivotal bout which awarded him the Featherweight WEC title shot.
Here was a case of it literally being over after Cub Swanson and Aldo touched gloves. Swanson goes in for a punch and is caught by a flying double knee, which crumbles him. Aldo follows up with a barrage of strikes to finish.
Aldo’s featherweight championship bout was versus former American Top Team member, Mike Brown. This was what Aldo had been fighting for and to see this title won would’ve been a dream come true for him.
When the first round began, it was another striking clinic hosted by Aldo where he impeccably times the feints and Brown’s offensive engagements. Moreover, as the round progressed, there was an obvious difference in power, speed, and reaction. It was only a matter of time before someone got caught.
The second round begins relatively the same way until Brown gets hit and attempts to go in for a takedown. He gets stuffed however, and thrown down by Aldo. “Junior” rains down a flurry of punches and transitions into back mount. He takes control and pours a torrent of strikes onto a defenseless Brown, ending the match with a dominant win for Aldo.