jose-aldo-30.jpg(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

RIO DE JANEIRO – It takes a small army of security personnel to usher Jose Aldo into the van that awaits the UFC’s featherweight titleholder. Along the way, he answers as many reporters’ questions as possible, smiles for camera click after camera click and signs a few dozen autographs.

Thursday’s swirl of activity follows a three-hour engagement in which Aldo participated in a news conference, put on a public workout session that featured a soundtrack by a live rock band and then waded through a sea of fans and reporters to answer even more questions as microphones, cameras and recorders were shoved in his face.

It was time for Aldo to retreat to his hotel, but his removal from the scene was anything but easy.

“You get more experienced with fighting, and you get more experienced with everything else that goes with it, too,” Aldo told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through a translator. “I’m OK with it. Just go in there and do my job. I feel like that makes me more comfortable with everything.”

In his native Brazil, Aldo is a superstar, plain and simple. But in a country that has produced some of the most recognizable figures in all of MMA — including Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Wanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva — there is something different about Aldo’s position in the spotlight. He’s the people’s champion, as well.

“I feel like they relate to my life story, actually,” Aldo said. “They feel like I’m one of them, like I came from nowhere and I became the champion. I believe they feel like it’s a mirror and that they see themselves in me.”

Like many in Brazil, Aldo was raised in humble surroundings. As a teenager, he relocated from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro, reluctantly giving up on his dream of playing professional soccer in order to train MMA.

He turned pro in 2004, losing once in 23 career contests, and became the UFC’s first, and so far only, 145-pound champion.

Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) puts his belt on the line Saturday against “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung (13-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC), in the main event of UFC 163 at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET). But in the days before his fight, Aldo is asked as much about Brazilian policy as he is about his opponent.

Rising ticket prices for soccer matches in the country? Aldo thinks they should be lowered to allow common people to enjoy the sport along with the elite. Protesters taking to the street to push for improvements in education and medical care? Aldo believes it’s a positive move, as long as the statements are made in a peaceful fashion.

It’s an intriguing balance for the man who sits at No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com pound-for-pound MMA rankings.

With more success comes more responsibility and increased expectations. It’s a pressure that has caused more than one former UFC champion to admit there was a sense of relief after finally losing the title. But Aldo welcomes the challenge.

“I want to be the best,” Aldo said. “That’s the goal. That’s what feeds me, what drives me and makes me want to keep practicing. But it’s just as important for me to always remain connected to the people. This is not just me but also my team and my trainers.

“Hopefully, we’ll never stop being grounded people.”

For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

Video: During London face-off, Conor McGregor mocks Jose Aldo over belt

  • 27 days ago
  • 251 views

LONDON – The UFC 189 World Championship Tour today arrived in London, which was treated to another heated face-off – and Conor McGregor mocking champion Jose Aldo. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, read news >>

UFC 189 'Embedded' video blog (Ep. 9): Conor McGregor promises to smack Jose Aldo at today's presser in Dublin

  • 26 days ago
  • 10 views

Conor McGregor did not slap Jose Aldo. But the fact that he made any sort of physical contact during their UFC 189 world tour made the champ "crazy," according to UFC President Dana White, and Aldo - read news >>

Video: Conor McGregor snatches Jose Aldo's UFC belt, all hell breaks loose at Dublin press conference

  • 26 days ago
  • 156 views

Things got testy today in Dublin. It wasn't quite a smack, but Conor McGregor caused quite a stir at today's (Tues., March 31, 2015) UFC 189 "World Tour" presser in Dublin, Ireland Video replay here. read news >>

Jose Aldo: Conor McGregor will 'disappear’ after UFC 189

  • 21 days ago
  • 99 views

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Back in Brazil after a long tour around the world to promote the UFC 189 main event, featherweight champion Jose Aldo spoke with the media in Rio de Janeiro about his run-ins with C read news >>

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor: London Highlights, Quotes from UFC 189 World Tour

  • 27 days ago
  • 82 views

Conor McGregor continued with his attempts to get under Jose Aldo's skin during the London UFC 189 World Tour event ahead of their highly anticipated fight on July 11, but the defending champion retu read news >>

UFC 189 'Embedded' video blog (Ep. 8): Cameras capture Conor McGregor's infamous 'slap' that drove Jose Aldo 'crazy'

  • 27 days ago
  • 1097 views

Slap? Hardly. Unwelcome physical contact? Definitely. I can empathize with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Jose Aldo. It's bad enough to have someone sitting above and beh read news >>

McGregor-Aldo promo tour reaches fever pitch with slap incident (Yahoo Sports)

  • 28 days ago
  • 14 views

From Yahoo Sports: Did Conor McGregor slap Jose Aldo? Does it matter? MMA fans can't get enough of the Irishman's shenanigans. read news >>

McGregor-Aldo promo tour reaches fever pitch with slap incident (Yahoo Sports)

  • 28 days ago
  • 42 views

From Yahoo Sports: Did Conor McGregor slap Jose Aldo? Does it matter? MMA fans can't get enough of the Irishman's shenanigans. read news >>

Trading Shots: On asking the tough questions and getting tough answers

  • 28 days ago
  • 12 views

A reporter asked Jose Aldo about fighter pay and the anti-trust lawsuit, and ended up getting into a tiff with UFC President Dana White. Danny Downes and Ben Fowlkes explore the issue in this week’s read news >>

Trending News

Top News

Jump to: