Jose Aldo went 25 minutes with his biggest adversary inside the Octagon Saturday night, pulling out a decision win over Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 179.
After earning his second win vs. Mendes and seventh successful title defense, the Brazilian answered the question of “who’s next” with a bit of a side-step.
“I will face anyone (the UFC) puts in front of me,” Aldo said. “I think the court is now complete. Chad’s the prince, I’m the king and we have a joker.”
That “joker” Aldo was referring to was in the arena, as Conor McGregor has called out both fighters – and the entire featherweight division – countless times. He was shown multiple times during the bout, jumping up and down out of his chair.
While McGregor could be in the future, the present was Mendes. Aldo defended numerous takedowns and was able to get to his feet quickly when he failed. There were interesting moments, as Aldo landed two late shots after the bell sounded in the first, and was hit with a pair of eye pokes and a low blow by the challenger.
“I think every fight is the toughest fight of my career,” Aldo said. “I think I deserved to win. He hit me a few times, but I hit him a lot more. I respect Chad Mendes. Inside here, there is a rivalry, outside we are friends.”
The two had their own “war of words” in the weeks leading up to the fight, but embraced after the battle.