5 most shocking knockouts of Jose Aldo's UFC/WEC career
At UFC 283, it was announced that MMA legend Jose Aldo will be the first inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2023. The iconic Brazilian has enjoyed a gold-laden and storied career, comprising numerous memorable finishes, ensuring his legacy will be celebrated for a long time to come.
Across the WEC and UFC, Aldo compiled a scorching highlight reel of knockouts. 'The King of Rio' set the standard for the generations that followed and remains a huge inspiration for up-and-coming fighters, especially for his striking ability.
On that note, here are the five most shocking knockouts of Jose Aldo's career.
#5. Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan – WEC 51
After accruing an impressive 10-1 record, Jose Aldo signed with the WEC in 2008. He put together a five-fight win streak, all via knockouts, to earn his shot at gold in the American promotion and subsequently defeated Mike Brown to claim the featherweight title.
In his first title defense, Aldo put on a dominant showing against Urijah Faber, beating the Californian via unanimous decision. Just a few months later, the Brazilian champion took on Manny Gamburyan in the main event of WEC 51, putting his finishing ability on full display.
The first round was fairly competitive, with Jose Aldo picking apart his opponent on the feet. Manny Gamburyan attempted a few takedowns but struggled to get the Brazilian champion down to the mat.
In the second frame, Gamburyan darted in for another takedown, only to be met with a perfectly-timed uppercut from Aldo. Dazed, the challenger stayed down as the champion swarmed him with a flurry of ground-and-pound strikes, prompting the referee to intervene.
#4. Jose Aldo vs. Rolando Perez – WEC 38
While Jose Aldo's championship reign across the WEC and UFC is the stuff of legend, one of the most memorable knockouts of his incredible career came long before he became a world champion.
En route to his maiden title shot in the WEC, Aldo took on Rolando Perez at WEC 38, delivering one of the best knockouts via a knee you'll likely ever see.
Perez performed admirably in the opening minutes of the fight, standing toe-to-toe with Aldo for over four minutes and landing a few decent shots as well. Just as the commentators were praising his ability to stand-and-bang with his Brazilian counterpart, Aldo uncorked a sublime step-in knee, which sent Perez flying.
After a few follow-up punches, it was clear that Perez was separated from consciousness, and the bout was called to a halt.
#3. Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens – UFC on FOX 30
Jose Aldo held the WEC and UFC 145-pound titles for over six years before losing his belt to Conor McGregor in 2015. He subsequently re-claimed his UFC featherweight title after McGregor vacated the championship, only to lose it to Max Holloway two years later.
In his first non-championship bout in over nine years, Aldo squared off against Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 30 in 2018, his first three-rounder since 2009.
At the time, Jeremy Stephens was regarded as one of the hardest-hitting featherweights around. Considering Jose Aldo was coming off KO/TKO losses to Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, many believed that this bout was far from favorable for the former champion.
Nevertheless, Aldo looked on-point right from the opening bell, piecing up Stephens from range over the first four minutes. With around 40 seconds left in the first round, the Brazilian landed a quick combination, landing a straight right hand before slamming a hard left hook into Stephens' body.
The perfectly-placed liver shot folded Stephens in half as he crashed down to the canvas, wincing in pain. Aldo pounced on the American to finish the fight, returning to winning ways in style.
#2. Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson – WEC 41
Jose Aldo's first-ever professional fight ended in just 18 seconds. His fourth pro bout took just 20 seconds, and somewhat surprisingly, his first seven fights took less than a round apiece. Most of these bouts were on the Brazilian regional MMA circuit, where Aldo developed quite a reputation.
However, the quickest knockout of his career came at WEC 41 against Cub Swanson, clocking in at just eight seconds.
After winning his first four fights in the WEC via knockout, Jose Aldo locked horns with Cub Swanson in a title eliminator bout, with the winner slated to fight for the featherweight title. At WEC 41, then-champion Mike Brown took on Urijah Faber in the main event, with Aldo squaring off against Swanson in the co-headliner.
Aldo came out like a house on fire, launching a flying knee in the opening seconds of the bout and catching Swanson flush on the chin. Clutching his face in pain, 'Killer' dropped to the mat and the fight was stopped with just eight seconds on the clock, sealing a title shot for the Brazilian.
#1. Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 1 – UFC 142
After two title defenses in the WEC, Jose Aldo was directly handed the UFC featherweight title amidst the absorption of the WEC's roster in 2010. The following year, Aldo defended his title twice against Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian to establish himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
His next performance, however, cemented his status as an all-time great.
Jose Aldo took on Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 142 in Rio de Janiero, his first time headlining a UFC fight card. At the time, Mendes was considered a nightmare matchup for Aldo.
The undefeated wrestler was a slight betting favorite heading into the bout, as many believed he'd stifle the Brazilian champion's striking threat with takedowns and ground control. Mended attempted a few takedowns early on, with Aldo stuffing all of his American counterpart's attempts.
In the dying seconds of the first round, Mendes latched onto a body-lock and shoved Aldo into the cage. Out of nowhere, and with just one second left in the round, the champion swiveled and unleashed a thunderous knee, putting the challenger to sleep.
While it was a spectacular knockout, what followed really solidified Aldo’s rise to stardom. Rather than celebrate inside the octagon, he vaulted the fence and leaped into the crowd to celebrate with the ecstatic Brazilian fans.
It was an iconic moment, completely unplanned and unforgettable, and earned him his unofficial nickname – 'The King of Rio'.