Luciano Azevedo is the only man to defeat Jose Aldo in a professional MMA bout. | File Photo: Jim Page
Even the greatest of mixed martial artists suffer through their share of adversity. The once-unbeatable Fedor Emelianenko recently lost three fights in a row. Anderson Silva has left the ring four times on the wrong side of the ledger. Not even reigning UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has escaped this reality.
Aldo can thank Luciano Azevedo.
A Luta Livre black belt, Azevedo remains the only man to beat Aldo, having done so at Jungle Fight 5 in November 2005. Luciano, who submitted Aldo with a rear-naked choke in the second round, won the fight on the mat, an area which he believes to be the weakest point for the Nova Uniao representative.
“When we fought, he was as good and as aggressive as he is today,” Azevedo told Sherdog.com. “I traded some strikes with Aldo and managed to win in the area that, to me, is his weakness: the ground. I think if someone wants to beat Aldo, they’re going to have to try and do it on the ground because he’s too good in the standup.”
Aldo will defend his 145-pound title against the unbeaten Chad Mendes in the UFC 142 main event on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For what it is worth, Azevedo does not believe Aldo will suffer his second defeat against the Team Alpha Male representative.
“I’ll root a lot for Aldo,” Azevedo said. “Chad is very dangerous and undefeated, but I don’t bet on him against Aldo.”
As time has passed, Aldo and Azevedo have taken dramatically different paths. The former became a UFC champion and one of the sport’s pound-for-pound greats; the latter finds himself returning to training after should surgery, eager to restart a career that resulted in other notable victories over Rodrigo Damm, Luis Ramos and Din Thomas.
Azevedo would jump at the opportunity to face Aldo again but does not foresee a rematch materializing.
“Many ask if I want to give a rematch to Aldo, but I already won. I don’t have to look for it,” he said. “It’s something that has to come from him, but, of course, I’d accept it [if it happened].”