Jose Aldo, Rizin

A long time training parter of Jose Aldo, kickboxing legend Andy Souwer opens up about Aldo and his desire to see the champion make UFC 194 a ‘fairytale story’ against Conor McGregor.

Souwer and Aldo have been training together ever since Aldo’s late-WEC days and have become great friends, with Aldo often bringing Souwer into his preparation at Nova União.

The Dutch kickboxer opened up about Aldo’s rib injury, which saw the Brazilian’s fall from grace with the UFC, after he was forced out of his title defence against Irishman Conor McGregor at UFC 189.

Souwer said: “I sparred him because we do the sparring, every minute he gets a new opponent; the shark tank, so I just sparred two minutes and the guy after me he made a spinning back kick and he injured him on his rib. Everybody thought he can go on and he did [but] after two minutes he said ‘I can’t hold it anymore’.”

With no time scale on Aldo’s return, the UFC replaced him with Chad Mendes against McGregor. The brash Irishman valiantly came out on top, finishing Mendes to capture the Interim-title.

As Aldo’s time away from the UFC continued to grow and the silence from him and his camp became more deafening, McGregor’s unparalleled rise to the top of the promotion dominated headlines worldwide.

However, after time to recover from his injury and clear his mind, Aldo was announced for his title unification bout with McGregor at UFC 194 on December 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With the return of Aldo set, Souwer spoke about how the 29-year-old’s feud with McGregor has changed his outlook and the way Aldo now approaches training.

“The training was hard but fun, I never saw him like this before. Because I always saw him a little bit, almost stubborn, but this time I don’t know what happened he has a big smile. Almost every fight, every preparation that I help him, he is always in the first two rounds, he is okay, he’s good, then slows down, we also could see that in his fights, but for now six rounds, six minutes, he’s fucking the guys up.”

Souwer also compared the ‘completely different’ striking style of McGregor and his height advantage but predicts the Irishman ‘will go to sleep’ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He also commented on the complacency of Aldo as champion and the struggle for anyone at the top of the ladder to keep the belt.

“It’s something about champions, there’s always when they get champion they gonna change. They don’t want to lose, they get more experienced.

“They have to keep the belt, hold onto the belt and that’s a different world. We love to climb on the ladder but when we are on top of the ladder it’s pretty damn different you know. That you can see also in his fights, in Jose’s fights that he is just doing the things that he has to do just to keep the belt.”

33-year-old Souwer also admitted ‘this situation can bring the best fight ever in this weight class [Featherweight]’ but believes this may be the last time UFC fans see Jose Aldo in the Octagon, win or lose.

With the biggest title fight in UFC history just days away, Souwer backed his teammate to get the job done at UFC 194 and fulfil his career as one of the greatest ever fighters.

“Jose Aldo is the pound-for-pound fighter in this weight class and he will succeed this time also. It will be a fairytale story of course, but I’ll go for it.”