by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
WEC featherweight contender Jose Aldo is living a dream.
Aldo, 23, faces champion Mike Brown Wednesday at WEC 44 in Las Vegas in his first bid for a major title. He has steamrolled five consecutive opponents since his WEC debut last June, and done it with two things: speed and explosiveness.
Not unlike his idol, Mike Tyson, who at Aldo’s age was laying waste to boxing’s heavyweight division.
It took Aldo just 8 seconds to cinch a contender spot with a double knee knockout of Cub Swanson in June – his eighth consecutive victory. Swanson had just bested Japanese standout Hiroyuki Takaya and was rebuilding towards a title run.
The victory was a shot of adrenaline to the WEC’s featherweight division in which Brown had firmly established dominance with victories over former champion Urijah Faber (twice) and Leonard Garcia.
Aldo’s youthful exuberance had also won over fans. In January, he bounded into the stands of the San Diego Sports Arena after flattening Rolando Perez late in the first round.
Aldo, who trains out of the Nova Uniao gym in Rio de Janeiro, says he’s been hard at work for the Brown bout, his first five-round engagement in a 17-fight career spanning a half-decade.
“I’m way more focused than the other fights, so I’m going to be a better fighter than the last time,” said Aldo.
He says he’s been training jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai since childhood and stays happy by staying in the gym.
The flying knee technique that took out Swanson is one Aldo practices to counter wrestling based fighters – like Brown.
Brown, meanwhile, has said his advantage is in wrestling and power. The American Top Team fighter predicted one of them would get knocked out.
“I’ve been training really hard for the fight, and I’m ready for whatever happens,” Aldo said. “I agree with Mike: someone is going down during the fight.”
The dream for Aldo, of course, will be watching Brown take that fall Wednesday. The stands at the bout’s location, The Joint, aren’t quite ideal for a post-fight run. But you can bet Aldo will try.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said.