Credit MMAFigthing / Esther Lin

UFC 212 far from played out the way the Jose Aldo would’ve desired last evening, but one loss doesn’t define a man.  

After taking the early initiative in his fight with Max Holloway and looking settled in rounds one and two, the Brazilian came unstuck in the third when the Hawaiian turned up the pace. A stunning left-right combination had Aldo staggered on the feet and in a matter of seconds, he was on his back as Holloway followed up with another one-two.

Aldo could do nothing about Holloway onslaught that followed, but this wasn’t a man that went down without a fight. The Brazilian showed tremendous courage trying to fight out his predicament as he fended off a rear-naked choke and countless blows before referee “Big” John McCarthy called a stop to the fight.

The ending was dramatic and crushing for both Aldo and his fans inside the HSBC Arena, but what it also showed was a real and very raw insight into the character of the man. For over a minute, Aldo fought on instinct alone doing everything he could to fend off Holloway who swarmed him looking for the kill. Aldo had plenty of opportunities to simply give into the adversity he was facing and take the easy way out, but he refused to do and it was only McCarthy stepping in that stopped him from taking further punishment.

He may not have won, but that was Jose Aldo showing what he’s made of. Remember, this is a man who’s overcome great adversity from early on in life having grown up in a poverty and endured a difficult childhood

In an interview with, WEC GM Reed Harris recalled an exchange with Aldo’s fellow Brazilian fighter Wagnney Fabiano, and how Aldo would often turn up the gym having not eaten due to his lack of money to buy food.

Aldo stated very early on his career that he his goal in the sport was to make enough money to buy a house. Suffice to say, Aldo’s payday against Conor McGregor would’ve paid for one many times over, but still, last evening he showed he had the same hunger desire as he did the first time he stepped into the cage.

Fighters can often lose their edge once they achieve their dreams, but there was no sign that Aldo had lost any of the courage and determination that helped him fight the relentless Holloway onslaught when his shoulders hit the mat.

They say that you often tell a man’s true character when they are in their greatest moment of adversity, and last evening, Aldo showed only bravery and determination. He’s a man that can be looked up to by multiple generations, but make no mistake about it, young people, whether Brazilian or not, can learn a lot from the man who went from the streets of Manaus all the way to the top.  

The headlines on Sunday will be about Max Holloway, but Jose Aldo should walk away from the Octagon with his head held high. He’s a man that’s given it all and his story of going from having nothing to being one of the best in the world is something we can all take inspiration from.

Jose Aldo may have lost at UFC 212 last evening, but results are trivial when put in the context of how he’s inspired a generation to believe they can also achieve similar heights.

He’s laid down the blueprint for success and given hope to a generation of people that have nothing. That will forever be worth more than any gold belt.


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