Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Jose Aldo will be remembered for far more than KOing Conor McGregor when the legend retires

The name Jose Aldo will, for many, conjure up the seconds of ingrained footage of Conor McGregor bouncing back and forth before knocking out the Brazilian in 2015.

The way he tensed, the months of animosity fueled by McGregor’s verbal attacks coursing through his body for 13 seconds.

And then the heartbreaking realization of what had just happened as he regained consciousness. Aldo’s story will always contain this nightmare chapter, there’s no escaping it.

But as the King of Rio wraps up his glittering career, we can reflect on his legacy and achievements as a whole.

He is destined for the Hall of Fame and will never have to buy a beer at home again.

It is hoped over time the McGregor moment will become a footnote for the 36-year-old, who was the scariest 145-pound fighter of all time in his prime.

The current featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, was among those who paid his respects.

“Wishing the Featherweight Goat the very best,” the Aussie wrote, and any MMA fighter will surely echo those sentiments.

Aldo rose from the favelas of Manaus to the forefront of mixed martial arts. His first love was football, but its harsh environment and constant street beatings inspired him to learn how to defend himself.

The facial scar on his cheek is from his childhood, though not from violent thugs.

When he was a baby, his eldest sister Joseline picked up his crib and threw it at another child.

Aldo was inside and landed face first on a lit grill, causing terrible damage. Perhaps growing up with such a wound hardened him, the environment certainly did.

He began training jiu-jitsu at a young age and won a competition in the Amazon state which led to his first trip to Rio to compete for four days.

Aldo has seen enough in that short stint to know he would do anything to come back. “I started working two shifts a day with my dad,” he previously explained.

“I went to school at night to try to save up the money for a bus ticket to Rio. I wanted to come to Rio to train at the “Dede” Pederneiras gym. That’s when I started working and saving money to come. And I succeeded.

“When I came to Rio, I had absolutely no money.

“All I had was a bag full of clothes. I brought everything I own. I said I would only return to Manaus if I was successful.’

He continued: “When I moved to the favela I heard a lot of gunshots every day and night – something I had never heard before. That was something that really touched me.

“I left my home and my city to chase a dream. If I am who I am today and I fight the way I fight, it’s thanks to all the adversities I’ve faced in life.’

Aldo first made a name for himself in World Extreme cagefighting, which was a breeding ground for many of the talents that would later grace the octagon in the UFC.

His first incredible finish came after an unbeaten start after five WEC competitions.

Aldo took on Cub Swanson and knocked him up with a double jumping knee just eight seconds into the fight.

Swanson is known for his toughness, but he crumpled into a ball and a huge wound was made over his eye.

It was the kind of vicious and efficient hitting that Aldo became known for. He won three more fights in the WEC before the big boys called.

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