Back when Jose Aldo was a rising prospect in the WEC, it was obvious he was destined for greatness.
He destroyed five opponents in a row, knocking all of them out in devastating fashion, including his now infamous eight-second knockout of Cub Swanson with a double flying knee.
In November of 2009 he earned his title shot against the champion, Mike Brown, and knocked out the champion in just over a minute into the second round.
It seemed like Aldo was unstoppable.
In his first title defense, Aldo would face former champ Urijah Faber. For five rounds, Aldo battered Faber with leg kicks to pick up the first decision win of his WEC career.
Fans were confused why Aldo, a renowned finisher, took Faber to a decision when he could have easily pounced on his downed opponent multiple times.
His next and final WEC title defense was against Manvel Gamburyan. In just over a minute and a half into the second round Aldo connected with a perfect punch that sent Gamburyan out for the night. It seemed like the Faber fight was just a fluke.
Then came Mark Hominick.
Aldo looked a mess in his first UFC title defense against Hominick. He fought sluggishly, unable to make combinations and was visibly exhausted as the fight progressed. Hominick even managed to put Aldo on his back in the final frame and unleashed relentless ground and pound for near the whole five minutes.
Aldo managed to survive and retain his belt, but he was far from impressive.
The same can be said about his defense against Kenny Florian.
Again Aldo looked horrible. He was visibly exhausted early into the fight, and he looked sickly as he fought. Aldo performed better against Florian, but nothing like the dominant knockout artist fans had come to know.
Aldo claimed the WEC title in 2009 when he was just 23 years old. It's possible and likely that he has grown since then. He also looks as if he has become more muscular.
It's possible that Aldo's recent poor performances are simply because making the featherweight limit has become too difficult for him and he has to cut more weight than he used to.
Aldo is still one of the best fighters in the UFC, but he shouldn't be fighting at featherweight anymore. He's simply gotten too big to cut the weight and remain healthy and strong for fight night.
If Aldo continues to fight at featherweight, it's only a matter of time until the weight cut becomes too much and he can no longer fight effectively.
At 145 pounds, Aldo is the UFC's most beatable champion.