Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo has ascended mixed martial art's short list of superior champions by racking off six-straight UFC title defenses.
He has done so by tapping into ungodly athleticism, sensational preparation and the ability to kick through a cement wall.
But in a time when international stardom and fan appreciation often revolves around finishing, Aldo has not lived up to his billing. He has only finished two of his six Octagon appearances, knocking out Chad Mendes with one second left in the first round at UFC 142 and finishing an injured Chan Sung Jung in the fourth round at UFC 163 last year.
Now while Aldo maintains tremendous popularity and promotional potential in the Brazilian market, his inconsistency to finish top contenders may be the leading factor in holding him back here in the States. Not to mention his case for pound-for-pound best.
"The thing about Jose Aldo that drives me crazy is the kid has all the talent in the world,” said Dana White in a recent interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. “He’s explosive, fast. He can do anything but he just lays back and doesn’t let anything go."
White's comment surfaced following this past Saturday's UFC 169 throwdown in Newark, in which Aldo seemingly coasted to a unanimous decision over the very dangerous Ricardo Lamas. He was simply too quick and too explosive on his feet for "The Bully" to do any significant damage, albeit for last-minute ground-and-pound.
Aldo is so economical with his strikes. Landing leg kicks now. Doesn't bode well for Lamas. Lamas must back him up & be aggressive. #ufc169— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) February 2, 2014
In any case, Aldo remained untouchable opposite an opponent who looked like he could finally give the tenured champion a run for his money. But do rather lack-luster decisions like that hurt a champion's case for pound-for-pound best, especially when he's capable of finishing any fight early?
It depends. Aldo is so talented and has done so many awe-inspiring things in the past that fans tend to expect greatness at every turn. And that is truly unfair.
Is Aldo performing like he should be?
"When you talk about being the pound-for-pound best in the world, you can’t go five rounds with guys that it looks like you can defeat them in the second round," added White. "That’s what Aldo has a habit of doing.”
Aldo will have a chance to finish one of the most athletic strikers in the sport if a looming superfight opposite UFC lightweight prince Anthony Pettis is finalized. It's a fight that will leave any fan drooling for days.
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