Exclusive interview: Renato Moicano on what he learned from José Aldo in the UFC

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Moicano with Aldo after the end of their bout. Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Renato Moicano’s accelerating pace was momentarily interrupted in the UFC when he faced former champion José Aldo and was dealt a round-2 technical knockout. The fight, held last Saturday, brought important lessons for Moicano, and he later broke those down in an interview with Graciemag.com.

GRACIEMAG: What did you get out of the fight?

RENATO MOICANO: Either we win or we learn. I was doing well in round 1. Maybe I went into round 2 too confident, you know? This situation was funny even. I’m always very cautious, but I went into round 2 with lots of will to win and confidence. I had a half-knee strike ready. I neither threw it nor maintained a good base. That’s when he threw the cross. The lesson is to go in more focused.

How was it to look across the cage and see the fighter who inspired you?

That was crazy, dude! Since the week of the fight, seeing him there was very cool. It was indescribable to look to the other side of the Octagon and see José Aldo there. It’s a big memory, and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life. It didn’t happen in the best possible way, but as I’ve been saying, this episode will make me become the champion.

Were you able to isolate Aldo’s image to fight his moves instead of the famous athlete?

During the fight, I was no longer concerned whether it was Aldo or not. I just felt comfortable; I also felt I was winning and that I’d keep winning, but like I said, I got overconfident and exposed myself in round 2. Unfortunately he connected the hand.

Coldly analyzing the fight, can you remember what happened there at the end? Do you still think it was an early interruption?

I was confident, I came back, I made a premature move and paid the price for it. In the replay I was able to see it in detail. He connected the punch — at the time, I thought it was just me losing my balance. He came in with a blitz, and when I saw the referee getting in there, I was really pissed. I was in one piece, you know? I understand what people said — that the ref preserved my health — but this sport is MMA. In a situation like that, let the guy fall. Get knocked out, even. Instead of allowing for there to be doubt. In my mind there is doubt. Did he hit me? Yes. Did I feel the hits? Yes. Could I recover? I don’t know, and I’ll never get the answer.

There were other fights where I was knocked down, went down and managed to recover. Many other cases of athletes who fell and came back to win. I think the ref took that possibility away from me. He did his job; he didn’t err. I can’t say he made a mistake, but if it were me in his place, I would want to see the result. To me, he called it too soon.

Was BJJ kept as an option for the fight? Did you have any surprises up your sleeve?

Yes, I always train in the gi, and I trained lots of BJJ for this fight. We had worked on some techniques to take him down, but during the fight I saw that the striking was favoring me and decided to keep it on the feet.

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