Brazil’s fight scene was the first victim. Shooto Brazil, Meca World Vale Tudo, and Jungle Fight were some of the promotions that hosted Jose Aldo’s malicious fight style. He started his professional fighting career just before turning 18-yearsold. The Nova Uniao fighter who trains with jiu-jitsu aces Thales Leities, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro and Marlon Sandro, has had an Anderson Silva-like approach since the beginning. He’s cool, sporting a swagger to conceal his Samurai sword skill set that cuts through the competition.
Despite being a four-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, he’s only won via a submission hold once in 16 fights (15-1). The other submission on his ledger was due to strikes. Aldo stomped past Anderson Silverio and soccer kicked him en route to victory. Stomps and soccer kicks are illegal under WEC rules, but the former semiprofessional soccer player has been indomitably ferocious since storming stateside.
He debuted in the Octagon at WEC 34 in June 2008, against Shooto legend Alexandre Franca Nogueira. Innovative offense and aggression not only helped him avoid Nogueira’s famed guillotine, they also put Nogueira on the chopping block as Aldo axed him with punches. He’s been dissecting opponents ever since.
He proved he could sustain his pace by dragging his next opponent, Jonathan Brookins, into the third round and finishing him at WEC 36 last November. At WEC 38 two months later, Rolando Perez was the next to be overwhelmed. Aldo countered a body punch by lifting a knee, perfectly catching Perez and ending his night early. Aldo then stopped Chris Mickle at WEC 39 in March. But it’s the Brazilian’s last bout that placed him at his current peak.
One strike. Two strikes. Over. Cub Swanson was finished before Aldo got started at WEC 41 in June. The then 22-year-old, already considered one of the sport’s elite prospects in any weight class, launched a flying knee that connected directly on Swanson’s face. A great improviser, Aldo switched in mid-air and threw a second knee, landing cleanly on Swanson’s left eye. The pair of flying knees stopped Swanson in eight seconds and opened deep cuts above and below his left eye. (And the stoppage could have come sooner, too, as Swanson doubled over and suffered unnecessary punches.)
Mike Tyson is his hero, and if Aldo wants to continue to emulate him, he must dispose of 145-pound champion Mike Thomas Brown at WEC 44, in Las Vegas on Nov. 18. The win over Swanson earned him the title shot on the same night that Brown bested former featherweight king Urijah Faber. There is little doubt that Brown will be the roughest test of Aldo’s career. He will, however, be up for the challenge since his only two known aspirations are to be a champion and to buy a house — both come along with the win.
Whether Aldo will continue to be “Kid Dynamite” should be known once he’s tangled with Brown. After all, a fighter should be judged not by the content of his character, but by the wreckage he leaves behind.