It’s that time once again: another major MMA event has come and gone, and it’s time for my unofficial “Best Performance of the Night” award.
People are already talking a whole lot about UFC 142, likely because it gave fans a whole lot of “can’t-miss” moments. But one of them stood out above the rest—here’s why Jose Aldo’s thrilling first-round, last-second TKO win over Chad Mendes took home “Best Performance of the Night.”
Let’s begin as we always do, fans and friends: by putting the situation into context.
Coming into his third defense of his UFC featherweight championship, Jose Aldo was still regarded as the top featherweight in the world and even a top-five pound-for-pound athlete.
Of all the WEC fighters that would transition from the blue cage to the Octagon, it was Jose Aldo that entered the UFC with the most hype and fanfare.
He would go on to beat both Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian via decision, two tough opponents who honestly exposed some weaknesses in Aldo and fought him for five hard-hitting, grinding rounds.
Aldo’s opponent this time around would be Chad Mendes, an unbeaten prospect seen by many as not only a worthwhile and legitimate opponent for the seemingly-unbeatable Aldo, but also one of the best lighter-weight wrestlers in the world.
Mendes entered UFC 142 with a perfect record of 11-0, having won four times in the WEC and twice in the UFC to earn his shot at the championship.
We all know how it ended: after defending another takedown, Aldo turned, caught Mendes with a knee and finished him with one second left in the first round. He then sprinted out of the cage and went into the crowd, causing mass pandemonium and one of the most memorable post-fight celebrations I’ve ever seen.
But in my honest opinion, that’s not why Jose Aldo gets my “BPOTN” award.
He gets it because of one very simple fact: Jose Aldo faced the best wrestler in his division, and he defended every single takedown—and he made it look easy.
That, my friends, is the Jose Aldo I’m used to seeing. That’s the Jose Aldo that you’d look at and say, “That is one scary, scary man.”
In beating Chad Mendes in dramatic fashion, Jose Aldo now seems to have fully found his groove in the UFC. Like all great champions, Aldo took the experience he learned from several tough wars and now seems poised to go on an epic run that could rival and even surpass his reign of dominance in the WEC.
Even though he was a champion defending his championship, Jose Aldo still put his division on notice at UFC 142. He was good in the UFC before, great even, but now it honestly feels like we’re on the verge of a new era.
Jose Aldo, the real Jose Aldo, the monster Jose Aldo, the killer Jose Aldo, has finally arrived in the UFC, ladies and gentlemen.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
All things considered, giving Jose Aldo my “BPOTN” award for his performance at UFC 142 was an easy choice.
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan and lifelong video-game nerd. For more news, views, previews and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.