In eight days the UFC returns to Brazil, where featherweight champion Jose Aldo defends his championship at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Aldo (20-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has yet to lose under the Zuffa and is looking to keep the streak alive against top-contender Chad Mendes (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in the event's headliner.
Mendes is the division's top wrestler turned mixed martial artist, which stylistically could pose a problem for a champion considering that's likely the only weakness in his game. However, Aldo believes that he has discovered the key to defeating Mendes.
“I found a few things in his game I can exploit," Aldo said during a recent UFC 142 media call. "I’ve trained very hard for this fight; I never underestimate any fighter and want to remain as champion."
In order to remain champion he'll have to accomplish a feat that 11 other men have failed to do and that's defeat the talented Mendes.
Aldo has the opportunity to do so in his home country as the main attraction and while he's fully aware that his dreams are coming true, he'll wait until post-fight to let his success sink in.
“This is where I started, just with dreams and hopes, and now I am back as a champion. It is a great feeling, but I will try to think about it after the fight. I still have to train hard and win this fight."
Mendes marks Aldo's eleventh fight under the Zuffa banner dating back to his WEC debut in 2008 and he's earned decisive victories over Kenny Florian, Urijah Faber and Mike Brown to merely name a few.
Add in the fact that 60 percent of the 25-year-old champion's career victories have come by knockout, it's safe to say that he's on the verge of stardom in Brazil.
“There’s more attention and it is a great pleasure to defend my title in my home country," Aldo said. "It means everything for me to come back fighting in my country as a champion."
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