Newly-crowned World Extreme Cagefighting® featherweight champion Jose Aldo had dreamed of winning a world title since he was a young boy. Growing up poor in Manaus, Brazil, Aldo didn’t have many material possessions, nor did he always know when his next meal would come.
Simply put, Jose Aldo was hungry. Starving, actually. But what makes this story so unique is that Aldo’s hunger could not be fulfilled by a cheeseburger. Despite his less-than-ideal upbringing, Aldo was craving a taste of success. Aldo wanted to become an elite fighter and escape the life of poverty, leaving championship gold as his only way out.
“My dream has always been to win a world title,” Aldo said. “When I started my career, I set out to be the best. I wanted a better life for my family and for myself.”
In front of a packed house at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas last Wednesday, the 23-year-old Aldo realized his dream, scoring a second round TKO victory over Mike Brown to win the WEC Featherweight Championship. In doing so, Aldo knocked off one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and claimed the title he long had an appetite for. Like his fellow countrymen Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida, Jose Aldo had finally achieved his goal of becoming a world champion.
“You could see how much the title meant to Jose when he was announced as the winner,” WEC GM Reed Harris said. “Behind the devastating strikes and knockout power, Jose is actually a very emotional, humble man. To see him well up with tears was an awe-inspiring moment for me. It was a rare look at one of the most feared athletes in the sport.”
At the post-fight press conference on Nov. 18, Aldo beamed with joy as Harris announced him as the new featherweight champion. However, as Harris told the assembled media that Aldo had the potential to be as dominant as Silva and Machida, Aldo admits that his thoughts drifted back to the days in which he struggled to stay afloat. He reflected on the shortage of food, clothes, and other necessities. While Harris was gushing about his new titleholder, Aldo, at least mentally, was back in Brazil.
“It’s just nice to finally be the world champion,” Aldo said shortly after the press conference concluded. “I am so happy that my dream came true.”
As Aldo left the press conference, he handed the title belt to a member of his team and let out a huge breath of air. When asked by a WEC official how he felt, the young Brazilian offered a humorous response via his translator.
“I’m pretty hungry,” Aldo said. “I think I want a cheeseburger.”
Aldo, to no one’s surprise, is still hungry.
*VERSUS WILL RE-AIR ALDO’S CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY TOMORROW, NOV. 24 AT 8PM ET*
For more information on Jose Aldo, visit www.wec.tv. Follow WEC at http://twitter.com/WEConVERSUS.