On the strength of his last two performances alone, it’s hard to argue that Jose “Junior” Aldo has any peer as the most well-rounded fighter in MMA.
Aldo combines superb defense with an offensive onslaught and work rate second to none in the game.
His clinical dissection of Manny Gamburyan last night at WEC 51 was a textbook example of how a martial artist should go about his dangerous business. Aldo began the fight by measuring Gamburyan and allowing him to take a couple of shots. Once he gauged the proper distance at which to operate, Aldo began (much as he did against Urijah Faber) to soften up his opponent with a series of uniquely powerful and accurate kicks to the lead leg. When Gamburyan adjusted his footing to compensate, Aldo was suddenly in familiar territory – leading the dance and marking time until he could move in for the finish.
You may argue that a “great” fighter would have finished Faber when the “California Kid” was clearly disable during their title tile, but Aldo begs to differ.
“Sometimes it is difficult to finish the fight, but I always try,” Aldo said following his brutal victory over Faber. “In this fight I tried very hard finish, but Faber is a warrior. I don’t know how many guys would still be fighting after so many kicks. He is a great fighter.”
There are those who would place Georges St-Pierre a notch above Aldo on the P4P ladder, and the argument is certainly valid, but Aldo holds the edge by a wide margin in the one attribute fans like to see most in a fighter – pure, unadulterated style.
While aficionados of MMA can make room in their thinking for wrestling, nothing makes for an exciting fight like stand-up skills, and Aldo has them all in spades. His manager, MMA super agent Ed Soares, knows a little about what it takes to achieve greatness in the cage.
“Jose trains a lot from his back. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu from one of the best jiu-jitsu schools in Brazil,” Soares said. “He always puts himself in those types of situations a lot during training, so he feels comfortable regardless of where the fight takes place.”
We may find out at some point how well Aldo fights from his back, but it will take someone to put him there, and that seems unlikely for the immediate future.
“In the first round I was just studying to see what I could do, and then in the second round I put all the work that we’ve done in the gym into the cage, and I was able to knock him out,” Aldo said via his translator. “If it’s up to me my reign will last forever.”
In MMA, forever is rarely “forever,” but in Aldo’s case, it may be a very, very long stretch indeed…