Like a wounded animal ready to defend its turf, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was ready to fight on Jan. 1 regardless of an injury.
The highly regarded Brazilian, who most rank among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, was set to fight at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day, but a neck injury pushed him off the card.
Aldo was so ready to fight for the UFC, he was even willing to do it at well less than 100 percent, but his manager and coaches stepped in and advised him against it.
“He wanted to fight injured,” Aldo’s manager, Ed Soares, said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “Me and his coaches were like, ‘No, you’re not fighting. You’re not going to make your UFC debut not being 100-percent.'”
The hunger to get in the cage and compete is a big part of who Jose Aldo is. When UFC president Dana White presented him with his new UFC featherweight title, the smile on Aldo’s face was ear to ear. He’s proud to be the champion and he’ll be even prouder when he can defend it.
“He’s excited to get in there and fight in his first UFC match. That kid is always ready to fight. He wants to fight all the time. If he could fight four times a year, he would,” Soares commented.
“He hasn’t fought since September and he’s just itching to get in there and fight.”
Aldo’s first opponent in the UFC was supposed to be Josh Grispi, but the New England area fighter fell short against Dustin Poirier on the Jan. 1 card.
Now Aldo is set to face Canadian striker Mark Hominick at UFC 129 in Hominick’s home country of Canada. He earned the fight with a shutout performance over George Roop at UFC Fight for the Troops 2.
With the health issues solved, Aldo is more ready than ever to defend his title and do it on UFC turf.
“He’s back to training and he feels good right now. That little time off and physical therapy kind of straightened things out,” Soares said.
“He’ll be ready.”
The bout will co-headline the UFC 129 fight card on April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.