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Aldo: Maynard has got him well-prepared for UFC 142

Aldo: Maynard has got him well-prepared for UFC 142

January 4, 2012

In the end, everything boils down to training for Jose Aldo.

The UFC featherweight champion believes he’s found areas where opponent Chad Mendes is exposed to his brand of violence, and he admits there are places – one, really – where he’d like to avoid.

“But really what it comes down to being well-trained and seeing if the training was well worth it, and if what I saw was really going to (help me) impose my game,” Aldo today said through translator Derek Lee.

Aldo (20-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) looks to make the third defense of his title when he meets Mendes (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in the headliner of UFC 142 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The bout caps the pay-per-view main card while preliminary-card bouts air live on FX.

The Brazilian champ invited Gray Maynard to his camp to help prepare for that place he wants to avoid: the mat. Although Aldo’s camp, Nova Uniao, wrestles on a regular basis, the training lacks the perspective brought from an American with such a decorated amateur resume as the two-time lightweight challenger’s.

“We’ve been training wrestling for some time, but I needed a guy well-versed guy who’s been training wrestling his whole life to kind of clear up things,” Aldo said. “I felt like Gray coming down in these past few weeks really gave me a lot of pointers and helped me out for this fight, where I am facing a wrestler.

“And Gray’s a great guy. He talks his pointers before and after training, and he’s really helped everyone in the gym.”

Mendes said that Aldo’s new partner won’t keep him from taking the fight to the ground. The Team Alpha Male fighter and former amateur wrestler hasn’t lost a round in 17 months and three fights, largely because he’s been able to control opponents on the ground.

Aldo, who held the WEC title before the promotion was folded into the UFC, was put on his back several times by Mark Hominick in his first UFC title defense at UFC 129. Hominick is a far less decorated grappler than Mendes. But it was also revealed later that the champ was badly hobbled by a tough weight cut and pre-existing injuries that hampered his performance.

Still, Aldo’s weaker point is in grappling. Despite that, he isn’t worried about being able to subdue Mendes with striking.

“I feel I’ve been able to find a few things, and I’m working on that,” he said. “We’ll have to see on the 14th.”

Moving to lightweight is still a consideration for the champ, but he’s still undecided when he’ll throw in the towel at featherweight.

“That’s something I’ve considered a lot,” Aldo said. “But really, the right time is going to come, and I’m going to trust my coach, Andre Pederneiras, and my managers, who are looking at it from it from a different point of view of knowing when to make that move, if ever.

“It’s something I’ve considered, but I trust their judgement. I feel I’m a young guy and have a lot to learn, so I’ve got to trust the people around me.”

That includes those who have helped him prepare for next Saturday’s fight. Not even his surroundings are distracting him. As a resident of Rio and native of Manaus, Brazil, the event is a sort of homecoming for Aldo. But for now, he’s just focused on his preparation.

“It means everything to me to be fighting in Brazil,” he said. “This is where everything started; it’s where I got my start, and I’m really happy to be coming back as a champion in the UFC. But really, I can’t focus on that. I’ve got to go back to training and do what I’ve done.”

Source: MMAJunkie