December 12th, 2015. Conor McGregor will finally get his shot at the long time featherweight king, Jose Aldo. Aldo hasn’t lost an MMA fight in over 10 years, he’s the only featherweight champion in UFC history and he has successfully defended his title 7 times against the best competition in the world at 145 pounds. In short, he’s really good at fighting.
In the run up to UFC 194, we are taking a look back at some of Aldo’s prior UFC match ups. To separate the facts from the fiction, the stats from the hype, and the man from the legend, lets explore the history of the best featherweight MMA has ever known.
Part 1 – Mark Hominick
On October 28, 2010, the UFC absorbed the WEC creating the UFC featherweight and bantamweight divisions. As the WEC 145 champion at the time, Aldo became the inaugural UFC Featherweight Champion. The first defence of his new title came in Toronto at UFC 129 in April 2011. Jose Aldo was only 24 years old at the time. He took on Canadian Mark Hominick who was on a 5 fight win streak.
- Also comes out quickly, he’s light on his feet, cutting angles and making Hominick miss. Aldo catches him with an uppercut early before landing a lightning quick combo, Liver shot, right hook and hard outside leg kick.
- Aldo continues to smash Hominick with hard right leg kicks, Hominick is having trouble getting in range.
- Aldo takes Hominick down, he stays in the guard landing vicious punches and elbows, Hominick eventually manages to scramble back to his feet.
- Towards the end of round 1, Aldo is already beginning to slow down, however, he manages to secure another take down to close out the round.
Round 1 Scoring: 10-9 to Aldo.
Before the fight began, Rogan and Goldberg were informing the viewers not to blink. Aldo entered the UFC with a big reputation for devastating power and brutal, quick KO’s. The power was there, but Hominick is hanging in.
- Aldo dominates this round with top control, again opting to stay inside Hominick’s guard and attack with elbows and punches. However the Brazilian is less effective overall. The fast twitch movement isn’t quite there, but he still hits hard.
- Hominick begins to find his range on the feet, landing solid jabs and hard left body shots. His corner tell him Aldo is fading just as the Brazilian slams home another leg kick the left thigh of Hominick.
- Towards the end of round 2, Rogan had moved on to discussing the fact that Aldo had had a difficult weight cut in the run up this fight. This is in direct response to the slowing down of Aldo.
Round 2 scoring: 10-9 to Aldo.
- It’s clear by now that Hominick is improving as the fight goes on, while Aldo is slower every round. High volume Jabs continue to find a home for Hominick. Aldo attempts a takedown at 3:40 remaining, stuffed.
- Aldo’s left, right, right leg combo is still doing damage, but Hominick is faster. They’re both staying in range and both getting hit, but Aldo still hits harder. Another failed takedown from the champion, Hominick landing jabs and straight rights, the Canadian is making the Brazilian look human, he just manages to slip away from the biggest of Aldo’s punches.
- 1:30 remaining in round 3 and most of Hominick’s hard work is undone when Aldo drops him with a right hand to the jaw and a left hook to the temple, he follows him down looking to finish. Aldo is patient, once again from the guard he lands hard elbows and Hominick begins to bleed. Aldo takes the round that was close up until the knockdown.
Round 3 scoring: 10-9 to Aldo.
- Early in round 4, it’s obvious that Hominick’s left eye is bothering him as blood flows down from his forehead. Aldo regains some of his speed at the start of each round, he lands another of his trademark thunderous leg kicks. He’s slowing overall, but still possesses unrivalled power. After he catches Hominick with a low blow, the bout continues quickly and Aldo goes to his go to combo, left to the body, right to the body, hard outside leg kick.
- Hominick’s technical boxing is working better now, he lands a double jab but then runs into another right hand for Aldo’s second knock down of the fight. 2:30 remaining in the round and Aldo is on top in guard again. He lands a vicious elbow that leads to a huge haematoma on Mark Hominick’s forehead. It’s a sickening golf ball sized lump and it forces the referee to halt the bout and call in the doctor. Hominick is eager to continue, protesting that he’s fine, the doctor agrees.
- They start back on the feet and no one seems to mention the obvious, not even Joe Rogan remarks upon the fact that when the doctor was called in, Aldo was on top of Hominick on the ground. However another take down by Aldo seems the round end with him on top once again.
Hominick had some early success in this round, but he just couldn’t match the power of Aldo, after being dropped and damaged on the ground, he drops another round to the champion.
Round 4 scoring: 10-9 to Aldo.
- They check the lump again before round starts, easily could have been stopped, but the doctor is happy to let the bout continue. Hominick is still light on his feet, cardio doesn’t seem to be an issue while Aldo always looks better at start of a new round. He lands another leg kick and almost drops Hominick with an uppercut, but in the scramble that follows, Hominick takes him down for the first time.
- Hominick ends up in half guard with Blood pouring from his cheek down upon Aldo. Hominick Lands hard punches from the top. Left hands rights, again! More shots rain down from the Canadian as Aldo recovers full guard. He lands to the body over and over again before landing more hard punches and hammer fists on Aldo’s face. He postures up and reins down fire, dominating the last round. He never tries to pass the guard, but stays active on top for over 3 minutes, Aldo hung in there, but he was definitely in trouble. As the bell sounds and the curtain closes on the first UFC featherweight championship bout, Hominick drops to the mat to do some push ups, the subtext here is ‘I’m fine, and could go another 5 rounds.’ Aldo quickly performs his own push ups, his subtext. ‘Too little too late.’
Aldo lost this round, it probably wasn’t too close to being stopped, but it was as close as the fight ever came to it. In many ways the last round salvaged this fight from being easily forgotten, the Canadian crowd were on their feet for the final bell.
Round 5 scoring: 10-8 to Hominick.
My scoring: 48-46 to Jose Aldo.
Official scores: 50-43. 48-46. 49-46. (The last two are fine, the first score is truly baffling)
Jose Aldo was severely tested in the last round of this fight, but overall it was a solid performance. He was the better striker, the more powerful attacker, the better wrestler and the smarter fighter. The legend of Jose Aldo had finally made his UFC debut and retained his title. He would be a force to be reckoned with, but in victory, a weakness was exposed, and it’s name was cardio.
Check out part 2 tomorrow as we take a look at Jose Aldo VS Chad Mendes 1.
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