Jose Aldo’s late-career revival has amazed Conor McGregor’s mentor: ‘He had the appearance of a champion fighter.’


For good or even worse, Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor would forever remain intrinsically linked due to their competition in the initial periods of McGregor’s UFC tenure.

Following their multi-year road to UFC 194, which has seen the two ultimately encounter one of the sport’s greatest awaited bouts, Aldo and McGregor ignited the lightweight category on fire. McGregor triumphed in a memorable 13-second knockout, and he and Aldo eventually parted ways. Meanwhile, Aldo has stunned many of those in the MMA community with a rebirth at 135 lbs six years later, just at the age of 35. Regarding his triumph against Rob Font, the Brazilian legend has claimed 3 consecutive fights and is now on the verge of another world title.

McGregor’s former head coach, John Kavanagh of SBG Ireland, can’t help but admire his team’s old foe accomplishing 17 years into his MMA tenure.

“I’m confident I talked about it quite a lot just at moment,” Kavanagh said recently on The MMA Hour. “But going back, I was a major WEC fan.” “And if you’re a WEC fan, Aldo is your idol.” Only the style he looked — a striking-based MMA fighter who simply decimated grapplers — he was the first one I saw. So I tried to take a lot away according to what he accomplished. And even further back, I used to see his brilliant coach ‘Dede’ [Andre Pederneiras] during the Pride days.

“There was no one who cared more about that squad and Aldo in particular than me.” And in the weeks leading up to that [UFC 194] fight, I spent many sleepless hours studying his leg kicks, takedown defense, quickness, skill, and expertise. And I was disappointed with how the bout ended since I had hoped to witness a collision of techniques and more interactions.”

Aldo is still one of the best MMA professionals of all time, although he struggled after falling to McGregor in 2015. At one point, the former UFC featherweight representative went on a five-fight losing streak, three of which he lost by brutal knockout rounds, concluding in a championship defeat to present UFC interim lightweight champion Petr Yan, in 2020.

Ultimately, practicing in the Brazilian Navy was the catalyst for him rediscovering his love for mixed martial arts. Ever since, Aldo has made a comeback as a formidable presence, winning 3 consecutive fights against Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Font and surging to No. 6 in the MMA Combat International Rankings at 135 lbs.

Former champion T.J. Dillashaw has been mentioned as a possible title eliminator for Aldo. If he got it and won, he’d become another guy up to fight for the UFC championship.

If that day comes, both Kavanagh and McGregor will be on Team Aldo, according to Kavanagh.

At 135, Aldo is re-energized and looks like a global athlete. He has the appearance of a champion warrior. If he wins the Dillashaw match, we’ll see how far he’s progressed since.