by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
He made it look easy. He made great fighters look outclassed. He showed the world that featherweights pack a dangerous punch. And Jose Aldo did it all with a style that can only be described as devastating.
For those reasons and a multitude of others, Jose Aldo was been chosen as the MMAWeekly.com Fighter of the Year for 2009.
Entering the year, Aldo was already a blip on the radar of most fans watching the top fighters coming up in the World Extreme Cagefighting’s burgeoning 145-pound weight class. With dominant wins in 2008 over fighters like Alexandre Franca Nogueira and Jonathan Brookins, the stage was set for the Brazilian to take his career to another level in 2009… and that he did.
A string of first round knockouts followed, but maybe none more impressive than what earned Aldo his shot at the WEC featherweight title. A bout against tough as nails competitor Cub Swanson was supposed to be the war of the night, but it turned into a highlight reel knockout.
Before Swanson had a chance to feel like he was in the fight, Aldo flew across the cage and blasted him with a flying knee that sent Swanson crashing to the canvas. Notice had been served to every fighter in the WEC that Jose Aldo was the real deal.
His next fight was against No. 1 featherweight and WEC champion Mike Brown, who had been on quite a tear of his own since winning the championship in 2008. Regarded as an underdog heading into the fight, Aldo took no time in showing that he was determined to wear the belt at night’s end.
As Aldo timed his punches and unloaded shot after shot, Brown was overwhelmed and Jose Aldo was the new WEC featherweight champion. As humble as he is skilled, Aldo after the fight said he still felt his title win could have come sooner had he been more aggressive, something he plans to work on.
There is no questioning the path that Aldo is on. He is widely considered the top of his weight class, but is also garnering consideration as one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com in November after his title victory, Aldo said it best, “Every night I walk into the cage, I feel like it’s my night.”
Now 2009 belongs to Jose Aldo, as he can add Fighter of the Year to his growing list of accomplishments.