It’s year’s end: time to slow down at work, catch up with the friends, fill up restaurants and the old belly. That is if you’re not a certain fighter from Nova União who has an engagement in the cage scheduled for early 2013, of course.
At the invitation of Nova União head coach André Pederneiras, the GRACIEMAG.com crew headed over to the team’s Rio de Janeiro headquarters to get a look some of the team’s stars in training.
When UFC featherweight champion José Aldo Jr. (21-1) greeted photographer Gustavo Aragão and reporter Carlos Arthur Jr., he said he wasn’t quite 100 percent: “I’m 1000 percent. I’ve only got one problem: I really, really want to get back in the octagon. I want to fight too much,” the black belt said, alluding to how the fight had previously been scheduled for October but was postponed due to a motorcycle accident he suffered in Rio.
His challenger, Frankie Edgar, had better be ready, as the 26-year-old Brazilian is promising to train like never before.
Once the training session was over, Aldo had the following chat with our reporters about his upcoming title defense against former lightweight champion Edgar, who is coming off back-to-back losses to Ben Henderson and has now dropped to the featherweight division in hopes of claiming the title.
GRACIEMAG.com: How is training for your Feb. fight in Las Vegas going?
JOSÉ ALDO: Truth is, we’re just getting started, since there’s still a bit over two months to go till the fight. We’re going to start stepping it up a bit now, but once we’re one month from the fight, then we’ll intensify the training. But we’re starting our first steps in preparations.
Frankie Edgar dropped to featherweight to try to take your belt, but that’s nothing new for you. It was the same deal with Kenny Florian. Can this move to a different weight class be an advantage to you since you’re more accustomed to fighting at 145 pounds?
That’s what we’re counting on. It’ll be his first time fighting at featherweight, and he’ll have to lose a bit more weight. But a fight’s a fight. It’ll be the first time he fights in this division, where there’s a faster class of fighter. As for me, I’m doing my part, preparing and training as much as I can to get out there and defend my title.
What’s your take on Frankie Edgar’s style?
He moves around a lot, is really explosive, and he likes to surprise. He never stops and has great endurance. We’re analyzing him, seeing what he gets right and wrong so we can come up with the best strategy and have a good fight.
Last of all, how do you feel 2012 went for you?
I’m a really positive guy, so I’d say it went great. I expected to have three fights this year, but only had one. I had two injuries, suffered a motorcycle accident… But to me it was great. I’m healthy; that’s what matters. The rest we can make happen.
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