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The numbers are beginning to pile up for featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

The reigning 145-pound king has defeated the last 16 men who have stood across from him inside the cage, and the majority of them have been disposed of in brutal fashion. The 27-year-old is notorious for making highlight-reel material out of his competition and has used a complex blend of speed, power and accuracy to get the job done.

Surging contender Cub Swanson met his end via double flying knee.

Team Alpha Male standout Chad Mendes made the slightest of mistakes as he shot in for a takedown and woke up to see Aldo crowd surfing through the frenzied masses in Rio de Janeiro.

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To fully appreciate Jose Aldo, you had to see him in the WEC.

As he prepares to meet heavy underdog Ricardo Lamas on Saturday at UFC 169, while rumors of a summer superfight with Anthony Pettis swirl, it’s impossible to assess his time as the UFC featherweight kingpin without a little historical perspective.

Make no mistake: Aldo has been great in the Octagon, but to know him at his full potential, you had to witness his eight-fight rise through the UFC’s kid brother organization from 2008-2010.

You had to watch him gnaw through the legs of guys like Alexandre Franca Nogueira, Jonathan Brookins and Urijah Faber with his lashing kicks. You had to see him counter Rolando Perez’s jab with a crushing knee at WEC 38, flurry on Chris Mickle at WEC 39 or suspend the laws of gravity to score his double flying-knee knockout of Cub Swanson at WEC 41.

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Saturday night originally presented an opportunity that Renan Barao had been waiting over a year to see come to light.

After winning and then defending the interim bantamweight title on two occasions, the Brazilian phenom was finally going to get the chance to square off with longtime titleholder Dominick Cruz to determine who would be the true champion of the 135-pound division. 

Their fight was figured to be a wild affair filled with high-paced action until one of them broke, but the way things actually turned out is far from the chaotic five-round battle originally envisioned. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Cruz suffered yet another injury and was officially stripped of his title, which made Barao the official undisputed champion of the division.

"On one hand I was very happy because I became the official bantamweight champion," Barao told Bleacher Report. "But on the other hand it was sad because I never want to see someone's career halted because of an injury. As for this fight I have coming up with Faber, it doesn't bother me. I always stay in shape, and I'm prepared to fight anyone that comes my way. Now it is going to be Faber, and I'm ready for that fight."

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On the heels of back-to-back losses and sporting a 1-2 promotional record, Saturday’s showdown with Frank Mir at UFC 169 likely represents Alistair Overeem’s last chance in the Octagon.

To be honest, it doesn’t figure to be a garden party for Mir, either. While UFC brass won’t confirm whether the loser can expect to find a pink slip hanging in his locker, we can all see the writing on the wall.

Writing done in 6'4", 265-pound block letters.

Letters that have been getting smaller and smaller over time.

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When the day comes that testosterone replacement therapy is finally, mercifully banned in MMA, we may well look back on this week as a tipping point.

Much of the years-long argument on the subject suddenly seemed moot on Monday morning, after the Association of Ringside Physicians released a statement flatly condemning the controversial treatment and calling for its elimination in combat sports.

By afternoon, that opinion had received support from a surprising figure: UFC president Dana White.

In what amounted to perhaps his strongest call to date for increased government regulation in MMA, White told the Associated Press he was “thrilled” by the ARP’s call to ban TRT.

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UFC 169 takes place this Saturday night in Newark, New Jersey.

Or perhaps it will take place Sunday night in Newark; that will only happen if the Super Bowl is moved to Saturday due to bad weather. In a strange way, I'm rooting for that scenario (an increasingly unlikely one) for the sole purpose of seeing how the UFC manages to scramble under such conditions.

In all likelihood, we are looking at our usual Saturday night fight card. And it's a good one.

Though it doesn't rank highly in terms of sheer star power, this is a card filled with intriguing matchups. Both championship fights are interesting in their own way, and one of them has serious upset potential. Which one? You'll have to read on to find out.

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This is something I don’t normally say, but I think it would be a shame if Josh Thomson never fought again after losing to Benson Henderson on Saturday at UFC on Fox 10.

Typically, when it comes to MMA, I would describe myself as pro-retirement. Our sport is so mentally and physically demanding—and the payoffs generally so meager compared to the risks—that the moment a fighter decides it’s not worth it anymore, it’s time to call it a career.

If he or she can make a living working behind the scenes, in front of a camera or in an entirely different industry, that’s usually the best possible move. As mere spectators, it’s our duty to respect the decision, just as we did for Nick Diaz last year and Georges St-Pierre last month.

But even in a field where we’re used to unhappy endings and unfulfilled dreams, it would feel particularly unfair if things ended like this for Thomson.

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There may not have been a ton of buzz surrounding Alex Caceres heading into his bout with Sergio Pettis at UFC on Fox 10, but "Bruce Leeroy" gave the MMA world plenty to talk about in the aftermath of the event.

Despite the 25-year-old Floridian having gone 4-1 (1 NC) in his six showings since dropping down to the bantamweight division in late 2011, the lion's share of the talk heading into the 135-pound scrap focused on the younger of the Pettis brothers.

The 20-year-old Milwaukee native had found victory in his first 10 fights as a professional, which included an impressive and triumphant Octagon debut at UFC 167 back in November, when he earned a lopsided unanimous decision over Will Campuzano in Las Vegas.

With solid momentum and high expectations based off Pettis' family pedigree, the bout with Caceres in Chicago was figured by some to be another showcase bout for "The Phenom." When the action got underway on Saturday night at the United Center, that certainly appeared to be the case. Pettis used his speed and accuracy to pepper The Ultimate Fighter season 12 alum throughout the opening round.

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Benson Henderson won’t go quietly.

The former lightweight champion’s split-decision victory over Josh Thomson on Saturday kept him comfortably ensconced among the 155-pound elite, much to the chagrin of his opponent, most spectators and probably UFC matchmakers too.

As for the fact that yet another controversial judges’ verdict in his favor only reinforced Henderson’s reputation as perhaps the sport’s most vexing talent—a guy whose UFC record contains more than its share of questionable decisions—he refused to apologize.

“I like Ws,” Henderson said at the post-fight press conference (via MMAJunkie). “I like getting my hand raised and I’ll take it any way I can get it. Slipping on a banana peel, by the skin of my teeth. By any means, you know?”

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship's return to Chicago was initially met without much fanfare.

On paper, the card couldn't hold its own when held up next to the UFC's previous two Fox Chicago installments. The 2012 version featured Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping and a guy named Chris Weidman. Last year, it was Rampage Jackson, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and a flyweight championship fight.

There was no such championship fight this time around, and the rest of the card couldn't compare to previous installments in terms of star power. Prejudging an event before it ever takes place is generally not a wise idea, especially when the main event features two fighters who are naturally predisposed to having thrilling fights.

But sometimes, the stars align. Sometimes, we are treated to an event that exceeds all expectations. If we are honest with one another, this happens more often than not.