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José Aldo: “I had a perfect fight, just the way we trained”

Aldo bares his weight down on Kenny Florian. Photo: UFC.

An illustrious fighter mulls around the train station, keen to which line will get him to Manhattan. José Aldo is enjoying some down time in New York, after successfully defending his title against Kenny Florian last Saturday at UFC 136. Tourism, visiting friends and shopping with the wife are his “tiring” itinerary. That was at around 9pm, when the UFC champ had the following chat with GRACIEMAG.com:

You didn’t suffer much in beating Florian but it wasn’t what the public is used to seeing from you. Some comments are that you fought strategically, not putting yourself at risk. What are your thoughts on that? Could you have taken more risks?

Let’s go part by part. I had a perfect fight, just the way we trained and put together a strategy for. We debated a lot, watched videos, and the conclusion we came to was that I had to fight like that. But because everybody knows my style, that I go forward the whole time, there was something missing. I could have done more, people know I have the potential to do so. But it’s hard when you’re in there fighting; only when you’re in there do you know what you can or can’t do, when you feel it in the flesh. So I do feel I could have done much more but, because of what I practiced and the fact I was facing someone like Kenny Florian, I had a good fight. I always review everything afterwards to try and come back even stronger.

Did Kenny make it hard on you? Everyone knows he can be dangerous, has some dangerous ground and pound, for example…

He’s an experienced guy who keeps a steady pace and capitalizes on your mistakes. He’s always waiting for you to make a mistake. I could have loosened up and taken more risks but then I’d open myself up for mistakes. I have to give Kenny credit, he’s a high-level opponent and has had title fights in several divisions.

Photo: UFC

Do you want to move up and fight at lightweight? And what would be the reason?

It’s a goal of mine to test myself at a heavier weight. I’ve fought heavier before, lighter too. I don’t have problems making weight, it’s fine. Of course, there is a sacrifice but I have no problem with it. This last fight went well, I was still strong after making weight. Fighting heavier is just something I want to do. One day I want to test myself at lightweight but for now I don’t see that happening. Dedé’s the one who’ll decide that. My coach will know when the right time comes. I’ll leave it in his hands. I’m fine in my division and I still have many title defenses to come.

There’s talk of you representing Flamengo soccer club. It’s said that should go through by early next year. How are those negotiations going?

I really hope it goes through. It would be good for Flamengo, would be good for me, for everybody. As a good Flamengo fan, I hope to be a Flmaengo athlete. But it if doesn’t happen I won’t be upset about it. I’ll still cheer for them and go to the games.

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