LAS VEGAS – Jose Aldo says he’s fine.
He says his weight-cut has gone better than ever.
The former UFC featherweight (145 pounds) champion is cutting down to bantamweight (135 pounds) for a fight against Marlon Moraes on Saturday night’s UFC 245 card, and photos out of his camp have caused concern.
At Thursday’s media day in Las Vegas, he looked gaunt and wore a hood over his head for all interviews. There was no choice but to ask him about how his weight cut was going, purely out of concern.
Aldo, though, promised there’s nothing to worry about.
In fact, he insisted he feels better than he ever has the day before a weigh-in.
“This is the first time in my career that I actually had a nutritionist, so I believed my team (and) they hired the best professionals,” Aldo said. “I used to just cut weight the week of the fight, old school, and now I have been preparing for two months, eight weeks.
“The weight’s been falling off me, actually, and I needed to eat a little bit more food to maintain my drop properly. Honestly, I’ve never felt this well, this prepared, this explosive, this fast, this strong in my career.”
From the time his fight against Moraes was announced, there have been some who have wondered whether it was a good idea. Aldo was never a fighter who seemed to especially enjoy shedding weight to 145 pounds and there had long been rumours that he might actually go up a weight class and fight at lightweight (155 pounds).
To be fair, the Brazilian would have been extremely undersized at lightweight, so it’s not really fair to use that as evidence that he shouldn’t be going down to bantamweight.
But nobody should be criticized for worrying about the move, anyways. Weight-cutting is a serious matter.
Aldo wouldn’t reveal how much he weighed on Thursday afternoon, promising only that there would be no issue when he steps on the scale Friday morning.
He also insisted that Saturday’s fight at 135 pounds won’t be a one-off. He fully intends on making a run at Henry Cejudo’s bantamweight belt.
There’s really no path for him to win back the featherweight belt at this particular moment in time. He’s lost twice to champion Max Holloway, who will be taking on Alexander Volkanovski in Saturday night’s co-main event.
Volkanovski, by the way, beat Aldo the last time the two were in the octagon, so no matter who emerges with the belt in Saturday’s featherweight championship fight, Aldo wasn’t realistically going to be the next-man-up to fight them.
At bantamweight, meanwhile, it’s conceivable that Aldo could be up for a title shot with a win over Moraes, who is currently ranked as the No. 1 contender at 135 pounds.
So making the move down does technically make sense, assuming Aldo can safely make weight on Friday morning and recover sufficiently enough that he can perform at a high level.
“All that matters to me is I feel great. I can’t wait to test myself,” Aldo said. “To me, this is a brand new start. The old Jose Aldo is dead. This new Jose Aldo needs to start from the beginning.”
AT THE FIGHTS
Holloway has developed a close relationship with the Toronto Raptors over the years, and had nothing but good things to say about the team’s tribute video for Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday night.
As it turns out, Raptors GM Bobby Webster may be flying into Vegas to support Holloway for his title defence against Volkanovski on Saturday night.
“I think he is, I think Bobby’s coming,” Holloway said. “I’m definitely going to harass him (for a championship ring) in person, I’ve already harassed him over text.”
Holloway has headlined two UFC cards in Toronto and one in Edmonton and has been called an honourary Canadian countless times.
He refused, however, to confirm that he could text Drake whenever he wanted to.
Normally, the UFC’s big end-of-year card falls on the final Saturday of the year, right between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
It tends to draw huge viewership numbers, but with Christmas falling on a Wednesday this year there was just no way to hold a fight week that started on Boxing Day and had a card go down two days later.
The fighters who are competing at UFC 245 seem pretty thrilled that the promotion is getting things done on Dec. 14 instead of forcing them to fight shortly after the holidays.
“Hell yeah, I love my food, seriously. Do you know how many Christmases I’ve missed,” said women’s bantamweight title challenger Germaine de Randamie. “I’ll fly back, hug my family and spend Christmas without thinking about fighting. I’m really looking forward to that.”
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