on December 13, 2011
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo appeared in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, where he'll defend his title against Chad Mendes at UFC 142 next month. That fight will take place at the HSBC Arena, where the UFC played before a capacity crowd in August. But Aldo is hoping to fight in a much bigger Brazilian venue in the future.
"I hope one day to be able to fight in a football stadium," Aldo said.
That opportunity may come soon: UFC President Dana White said that while he's in Brazil this week he'll be looking at stadiums, and there are indications that ticket demand remains very strong in Brazil. One Brazilian reporter pressed White on Tuesday about why so many fans were left disappointed in August when they couldn't get tickets. (White's advice: Get online immediately tickets go on sale Wednesday.)
Aldo, who will be fighting back home in Brazil for the first time since he signed with Zuffa in 2008, said there will be some distractions associated with having family and friends around, but he said that won't make a difference come fight time.
"I have to put all that out of my mind," Aldo said.
Some other notes on the UFC 142 press conference.
Mendes thinks he has one key advantage in preparing for Aldo: He trains every day with Urijah Faber, who has faced Aldo before. "Having a teammate in Urijah Faber who's already fought Jose is an advantage for me," Mendes said. "We were able to sit down and put together a great game plan for this camp based on that. Urijah trains with me every day."
Don't get your hopes up for Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones: White has said he views Silva and Jones as the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but when a Brazilian reporter asked if that meant the two of them would fight each other, White said he doesn't see either man taking on an opponent outside his own weight class any time soon. "Jon Jones has a couple of obligations. He has to fight the winner of Rashad Evans and Phil Davis," White said. "Anderson Silva has been very reluctant to move up to 205 pounds. We'll see. We always try to make the fights that people want to see. If people want it, we'll try to make it."
Anthony Johnson isn't expecting to go back down to welterweight: Johnson, who is moving up to middleweight to face Vitor Belfort in the co-main event at UFC 142, said he's putting all his focus on his new weight class. "Right now 170 isn't in my mind at all," Johnson said. "My mission is to conquer 185."
Belfort thinks MMA can be bigger than soccer: "I remember when Dana White said UFC was going to become the No. 1 sport in the world," Belfort said. "He wasn't crazy when he said that."
Brazilian fans want to see some non-Brazilian stars: Multiple members of the Brazilian media questioned White about why none of the promotion's top North American stars are on this card. White said he has a lot of Brazilian fighters on the UFC roster who requested to fight in Brazil, and that didn't leave much room for non-Brazilian fighters. "This is our second fight here and you have people who it's always been their dream to fight here," White said. "But yes, we will bring in talent from around the world. Georgest St. Pierre or whoever else it might be. We do realize people here want to see them too."