Jeremy Stephens knew exactly what was going to happen when Max Holloway faced Jose Aldo.
Stephens, who had previously gone three rounds with Holloway, saw something in the young Hawaiian fighter when matched up against Aldo that made him believe a changing of the guard was about to happen.
Not only did it happen once but Holloway went onto beat Aldo in back-to-back fights to win the UFC featherweight title and then defend it late last year.
“I felt like he was broken physically and mentally,” Stephens told MMAWeekly when speaking about Aldo’s losses to Holloway. “Max weathered the storm. I was talking to my wife and she said ‘who is going to win?’ and I said if Max can bite down a little bit and weather the storm, he’ll come out on top. It went the exact way that I thought.”
While Aldo has been one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, his recent streak has not gone the way his career inside the Octagon first started.
Aldo has gone 1-3 in his past four fights with all three losses coming my way of knockout or TKO. The former featherweight champion has also talked openly about his career coming to an end sooner rather than later.
That all adds up to bad news for Aldo according to Stephens, who faces the Brazilian on Saturday night in the co-main event at UFC on FOX 30 from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
“Jose’s breakable,” Stephens said about Aldo. “He’s been broken twice by Max. Max just has his number. Jose has been on a decline just mentally and physically. I feel like he’s ready to get out of there and I’ll be happy to give him his pink slip and send him on home.
“I throw a lot more volume than what he’s used to. Same way Max did. We come in shape and we throw to kill so it’s just a matter of time. The more than I’m throwing in his face, the more that he’s breaking and before long it’s lights out and sweet dreams.”
Many wonder if Aldo suffered a third straight loss if that would mean the end of his career after Saturday night but none of that concerns Stephens going into the fight.
If this ends up being Aldo’s final fight, Stephens isn’t worried about being the guy who retired a legend. Instead, Stephens wants to be the fighter to knockout Aldo and then challenge for the UFC featherweight title in the very near future.
“That’s not my problem at the end of the day,” Stephens said about Aldo possibly retiring after Saturday night. “I plan on putting him on the canvas, taking my checks and going home to figure out what’s next for me, which is brighter and bigger things. He’s had his time. This is my time.
“This is a great stylistic matchup for me. It plays right into my favor. I’m not breakable. You can’t break me. This is going to be an exciting fight for the fans. On paper, we match up really well. I’m looking forward to it. What he decides to do afterwards is up to him, it’s not up to me.”