Aldo shuts down Holloway's 'cowardice' claim ahead of rematch

by
Jason Silva / USA TODAY

It's no secret Jose Aldo hopes to make Max Holloway eat his words on Dec. 2.

The Brazilian most recently fell to Holloway by third-round TKO in a featherweight title unification bout this past June at UFC 212, with longtime coach Andre Pederneiras later revealing his fighter had gone into the bout with a leg injury - hence the glaring absence of Aldo's patented leg kicks.

Holloway deemed Pederneiras' comments a "cowardly" belittlement of his emphatic victory during a recent conversation with ESPN's Brett Okamoto, prompting Aldo to take the high road in his rebuttal when speaking to media at Nova Uniao ahead of their rematch at UFC 218 on Monday.

"I don’t think there was any cowardice," Aldo said, according to MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz. "Every time I’m in there that’s the best Aldo possible. Holloway was a great fighter that night and was able to win. He deserved it. There’s no excuse. 'Dede' (Pederneiras) talked about it because it happened in training, but if I’m in there, that’s the best Aldo available. There’s no excuse. He won because he deserved to win."

Aldo ditched a December date with Ricardo Lamas to run it back with Holloway in an injured Frankie Edgar's stead, and while he's all too familiar with the injury bug, he promised he won't bring anything other than the run-of-the-mill bumps and bruises to Detroit - where he aims to stage a vintage performance and reclaim featherweight gold.

"I’m in perfect conditions," Aldo said. "There are always small injuries, but nothing that takes any weapon away. I’m kicking, punching, I’m doing everything now. There are no serious injuries. You can expect the best kickboxing, the best muay thai. I will walk forward the entire time. I want to kick a lot in this fight. I want to put my hands as well, everything I learned recently, I want to go in there and do it.

"I’ll smother him from beginning to the end, and he will have to worry about his defense. I always saw the attack as the best defense, so I was holding myself back, thinking, 'He has this strong point,' and that harmed me. Not anymore. I want to go in there and be myself, be who I always was. That’s what I want."

Aldo meets Holloway in the main event of UFC 218 on Dec. 2 at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena.