Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has only experienced a handful of losses over the course of his legendary career. Not all of those losses stung the same.
Speaking to MMA Fighting ahead of his UFC 245 battle with Marlon Moraes, which will mark his bantamweight debut, Aldo divulged that his early 2019 decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski, which occurred in his native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “hurt a lot more” than his infamous, 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor in 2015.
The main problem he had with the loss, he says, is that he didn’t try enough. He says he’s so ashamed of his performance that he can’t even watch the fight.
“It hurts a lot more, for sure,” he said. “Conor and I, we fought and he landed a good punch. In Rio, it was about the performance. That’s what bothers me. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t try anything. If you lose but try something, okay. You get sad for the loss, but you tried, you fought. But that one, I’m embarrassed. I can’t watch that fight.”
“That was s**t,” Aldo added. “I’m sorry, that was s**t.”
“I was too dumb. I had knee surgery and everybody told me not to fight but I was dumb to ask for a fight. It’s no one’s fault nor an excuse for the loss. The moment I accept a fight I have to be ready. I thought I could win, I was well-trained, I was in my city, but it was a total mistake not doing everything I trained and [Andre] ‘Dede’ [Pederneiras] asked me to do.”
Interestingly, Aldo added that he likely wouldn’t be moving down to bantamweight had he not lost to Volkanovski.
“No,” he said. “Absolutely not. That’s why I say that loss came in a good moment. Sometimes it’s better to take three steps back to move two steps forward. I’ve learned from that. ‘Dede’ came right after that with the idea of fighting at bantamweight, a challenge that lit up the fire to compete more.”
As his bantamweight debut draws closer, Aldo says he’s keen to remind the world of what he can do and erase the memory of his loss to Volkanovski.
“I’ll even apologize to everyone for that shitty fight I put on,” Aldo said. “I can’t do that. I prepared to fight, wanted that fight, asked the fans to be there, and then I did nothing. I fought way less than I can do. Losses and wins are part of the game, no problem with that, but I have to give my best in every fight, win or lose. I didn’t do anything there. But this is a new phase for me at bantamweight and I’m excited. I’m feeling super well. That could have been a final moment for me, but it lit a fire again and showed me I’m capable of becoming world champion again.”
Suffice it to say that Jose Aldo is not pleased with his performance against Alexander Volkanovski. Do you think he’s being too hard on himself?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/4/2019.