Hot Tweets: Jose Aldo’s five greatest performances and the future for Raul Rosas Jr.


It’s a rare weekend off from a major UFC event but that doesn’t mean we’re lacking for major news, the biggest of which is the retirement of Jose Aldo. Although there has been plenty of Aldo content already this week, as one my all-time favorite fighters, I will still be waxing poetic about the man for most of this edition Hot Tweets. Then I’ll close with a couple of Contender Series questions.

Jose Aldo

Jose Aldo is important because he’s at worst the fifth greatest fighter of all time, and I mean that sincerely. You can argue that he is better than any of the four other fighters, but none are guaranteed to be. No fighter has a significantly better career than Aldo’s. He’s in the God Tier of the MMA Pantheon, along with Georges St-Pierre, Demetrious Johnson, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones. These are the five. Personally, I rank Aldo and GSP as 1A and 1B, but it’s all a matter of taste. So long as you acknowledge he’s in the Top-5, I can’t fault you too much.

Aside from being one of the greatest fighters ever, Aldo is also one of the most important fighters ever (though in this regard it’s fair to put him outside of the Top-5, so long as he’s in the Top-10). The Mount Rushmore of Most Important Fighters has to include Royce Gracie, Ronda Rousey, and Conor McGregor, with the fourth slot being open to argument. Although I would have Chuck Liddell included, there are others who believe it should be there such as Aldo. Not only is Aldo one of the longest reigning champions in history, but he is the pioneer of the sub-155 pounds weight classes. Think of it like this: your favorite fighters inspired generations to come. There are many fighters who claim they got started because of Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, or B.J. Penn do it is countless, and for damn near every one of them below lightweight, Aldo was the dude (not to mention his reverance in Brazil). His contribution to fighting was so important, even though there were a lot of controversies. Jose Aldo is a key figure in the history of MMA.

As for Aldo’s Top-5 moments, I will first direct you to listen to the most recent episode of DAMN! You can find an exhaustive breakdown of Aldo’s entire career on They Were Good . Then I will say that excluding Aldo’s WEC run is doing a massive disservice to the man — especially since for all intents and purposes, the WEC was the UFC at the time — so I will be including that as well in my list, which goes like this (in chronological order):

  1. Flying Knee KO of Cub Swanson at WEC 41: His single-greatest highlight and one of the best highlights ever in MMA. Man hits a double flying knee five seconds into a title eliminator bout. There’s a reason it was on highlight reels for over a decade.
  2. Battering Urijah Faber at WEC 48: Even though Aldo was already the champion, Faber was the standard-bearer for the featherweight division, and Aldo mangled him. It is hard to believe that anyone would ever want to pursue professional fight as a career.
  3. Kneeing Chad Mendes‘ head to the moon at UFC 142: This was the night Jose Aldo entered MMA lore. He cheated, grabbed the fence, but it wasn’t important as Mendes hit the exact same takedown against Aldo just five seconds later, and he stood right back up. But, my rule of all sports is that cheating is allowed as long as the sport involves something cool. He counter-kneeled Mendes to unconsciousness, before running into the crowd and celebrating with Rio. This was the night he became “The King of Rio.”
  4. Outclassing Frankie Edgar at UFC 156: The moment Aldo became the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world (or should have been, anyway). Frankie Edgar had just been robbed of the lightweight title (twice) by Benson Henderson, and Aldo picked out his clothes for him, packed him his lunch, and took Edgar to school.
  5. Going to war with Chad Mendes at UFC 179: Arguably the best forgotten title fight of all time, Aldo and Mendes took pieces from each other over the course of 25 minutes in a way that changed both of their careers forever. Aldo showed he was still the superior fighter to Mendes, but he also showed heart and resolve that many had begun to question, fighting like a monster in the fifth round to make sure he retained his title.
  6. Turning back the clock against Rob Font at UFC Vegas 44: I’m cheating and doing six, because this one is also important in the story of Aldo, even if it’s less important in the terms of his career peak. The fact that Aldo, after clearly losing his fastball, was able to suddenly drop down a weight class and reinvent himself to still be one of the best in the world, 15 years into his career, is arguably his greatest achievement. Older fighters move up to slower divisions, they don’t move down, and they damn sure don’t become higher-volume fighters. Font was the five-rounder, so you could pick any one of his bantamweight bouts. Just remarkable.

The fact that this list doesn’t include his title wins over Mike Brown at WEC 44 or against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 is a testament to just how legendary this man’s career was. One of the all-time greats, and I will miss seeing him fight.

Raul Rosas Jr.

LOL. Of course not. Not at least not initially. There’s a formula at work here and it goes like this:

Step 1: Rosas will get a showcase debut fight, probably against another Contender Series alum. The commentary team can marvel at how a 17-year-old kid is so advanced as he busts up some guy who probably shouldn’t really be in the UFC.

Step 2: Rosas gets another softball. He’ll probably be a -300 favorite and he’ll do big things again.

Step 3: Here’s the step up. Instead of grooming Rosas for a few years and letting him develop, they’re going hammer down. Not a Top-15 bantamweight, but somebody in the Top-30 or 40. Nate Maness or someone like that. It’ll be a tough fight and he’ll probably lose, at which point then we put him on the Chase Hooper development path. Rosas will be launched if he wins. Top-15 guy next as the UFC crosses their fingers that they’ve found the next big thing.

This is the UFC’s developmental pathway. Nine times out of 10, it results in a fighter getting pushed too fast too soon, and sometimes that even irreparably damage their career. It happens once every generation, when you have Jon Jones. And you won’t see Rosas complaining as he believes he’s in the latter camp.

Speaking of the Contender Series

I don’t think this is a hypothesis so much as it’s a fact: Contender Series products cost a pittance of what it costs to sign established names, and that’s the only way for the UFC to increase profits now.

The quality of the average UFC card has decreased dramatically because the UFC has a guaranteed level of income with the ESPN deal. It gets all the sweet Disney cash as long it holds enough events. So when your income is functionally capped, the only way to increase profits is to decrease costs. The UFC already hosts a lot of events from the Apex. This keeps overhead low and means that production costs can be as minimal as possible while not compromising quality. The only way to cut down on costs is to reduce fighter salaries, and that means lower-quality workers. It’s business 101.

This isn’t a UFC-only way of approaching something like this. With the growth of streaming services, we are seeing this all around. It is much more important to have quality content than it is quantity. That’s why Netflix gives us two dozen movies that would have been direct-to-video a few years ago. It doesn’t matter any more.

Hooray, capitalism!

Thank you for reading, and for all the tweets. Do you have any burning questions about things at least somewhat related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck, because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew, and I will answer them! It doesn’t matter what they are, it doesn’t really matter. You can send them to me, and I will answer those I love the most. Let’s laugh.