With Jose Aldo’s long reign as the featherweight champion before meeting Conor McGregor at UFC 194 last year, “Scarface” was the king of the featherweight division and ranked #1 on the UFC pound-for-pound list. However, with being the top ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Aldo says that he never got all the opportunities Conor McGregor has.
Aldo has stated that when there were talks about him fighting then-lightweight champion Anthony Pettis for the lightweight title, he did not have the option to retain the featherweight title like McGregor did at UFC 205 against Eddie Alvarez.
Many believe that Aldo’s language barrier with American fans put a choke hold on his star power, as the interpreters were always the ones relaying Aldo’s messages.
In an in-depth Q&A with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Aldo was asked if he ever had the desire to learn to speak more English to better communicate with a bigger audience.
Have you ever thought about trying to learn how to speak English better, like Junior dos Santos, Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, so that you can connect with the public better and not have your words misinterpreted?
First of all, those particular fighters live in the U.S. and they all wanted to live in the U.S. When they started learning English, there was a secondary objective there, which was to establish their family and lives in the United States. That’s an objective I’ve never shared. I would never leave Brazil. I would leave my family and where I’m from and the life that I have here. I think Americans are really patriotic people, so patriotism is something they can understand. I’m very patriotic about Brazil, my country, and that includes my language. I studied English. I tried to learn as much as I can. I don’t speak it very well yet, but I understand it much better than I used to understand it, and they say that comprehension sometimes comes before the speaking, so that’s probably where I’m at.
You know, my wife and I, we travel to the U.S. quite a bit, and when we’re there, we get by with our English. So we do have the basic English to communicate, and we’re always trying to get better, for sure. But in professional terms, I prefer Portuguese. Portuguese is the language of my heart, it’s the language of my feelings. It’s the language that I feel I can express myself best in. And especially around fight time, when my head is spinning in 10 different directions, and I’m going a mile a minute, that’s the language I’m thinking and feeling in. It’s very difficult to translate feelings and thoughts into a language that’s not yours, especially when the topics you’re being spoken to about are topics that are deep and intimate before a fight.
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