Pederneiras: Aldo Won’t Move to 155, Has ‘Lots of Fights’ at 145

By Colin Foster Oct 11, 2011
After Jose Aldo turned away former lightweight title contender in a hard-fought unanimous decision at UFC 136, MMA fans and pundits began wondering who might finally stop the featherweight dynamo, who improved to 20-1 with his 13th straight victory.

While Aldo’s next opponent will likely be unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, rumors of a move up the scale began circulating even before UFC 136, when the UFC shared a YouTube video chronicling Aldo’s tough cut to 145 pounds.

However, speaking with Sherdog.com on Tuesday, Aldo’s coach and Nova Uniao leader Andre Pederneiras dismissed any chance of a weight change for his star pupil.

“He’ll keep fighting in his weight class,” Pederneiras affirmed. “He might be invited to fight at lightweight, but he won’t abandon featherweight, because, I believe, there are a lot of challenges left for him there. He’s just arrived in the UFC and has only fought there twice. Also, I believe many 155-pound fighters will drop to 145 in order to get a title shot they couldn’t get [at lightweight]. So, he has a lot of fights to make before thinking about it.”

“Dede” also asserted that his 25-year-old charge doesn’t have any serious problems when it comes to cutting weight before fights.

“He didn’t have any trouble at UFC 129, just the normal stuff happened,” said Pederneiras. “He lost 22 pounds in Toronto and 19 pounds in Houston, but it’s exactly the same thing two days before the fight. People think it’s nonsense, but it’s something he’s done since his first MMA fight and it’s something that a fighter who wants to fight at the highest level needs to get used to.”

Aldo’s plan before UFC 136 was to leave Houston not only with his belt, but with a highlight-reel knockout, just like the ones he displayed under the WEC banner. Meanwhile, Florian’s game plan to close the distance with takedowns and clinching stymied Aldo, forcing the champion to strategize during the fight as never before, something which surprised his trainer.

“Aldo was prepared and ready to knock him out,” the Nova Uniao leader stated, “but Florian’s takedown strategy blocked Aldo, who only let his game flow enough to win. I didn’t even think Florian would try to take Aldo down, but he’s much more experienced than Aldo, who had only his second UFC fight. Seeing that after the first round, we decided to hold him a little.”

However, in the coach’s eyes, Florian wasn’t the most dangerous opponent Aldo has ever faced.

“I don’t consider it the most difficult fight ever, but definitely it was the fight in which Aldo needed to think most before getting exposed,” Pederneiras opined. “For me, Mark Hominick was the toughest fighter he’s ever faced, because he has knockout power, something Florian doesn’t. A tough fight nowadays, in my opinion, is a fight where a guy hits hard and the other shakes, or a fight with a lot of exchange. Florian landed some no-pressure punches and his productivity got lower each round.”

Outside of Florian’s own corner, nobody can better attest to how the two-time lightweight title challenger has fared at featherweight than Pederneiras, who was also in Diego Nunes’ corner for Florian’s featherweight debut at UFC 131.

“He’s a tough fighter for any division. He’s already proven that,” analyzed Pederneiras. “He’s fought great fights at every weight class he has been in, but now he needs to focus on the division he wants to stay in. He surprised me fighting at 145 pounds. I didn’t expect that he would fight so well. I sincerely thought he was going to have less resilience and recovery.”

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