UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje has suggested that José Aldo’s 2015 loss to Conor McGregor was 90% as a result of of the Irishman’s mental warfare.
After defeating Chad Mendes to claim the interim UFC featherweight Championship, McGregor met the dominant Aldo in a unification bout at UFC 194. After bringing out some of the most memorable trash talk of his career, the Irishman knocked “Junior” out after just 13 seconds when it came time to fight. The brutal left hook ended the seven-year WEC and UFC 145-pound title reign of Aldo, and in doing so, snapped the Brazilian’s 18-fight win streak.
McGregor built upon the fastest KO in UFC title fight history, going on to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-division champion. Aldo, meanwhile, was never the same. And despite recording back-to-back wins at bantamweight over the past nine months, not many believe the 35-year-old can make it back to the top.
The UFC 194 headliner remains one of the most talked about fights in the promotion’s history. And despite McGregor sleeping Aldo with a picture perfect left hook while on the back foot, a lot of the discussion has surrounded the mental aspect of the Irishman’s attack.
Justin Gaethje has now suggested that McGregor’s trash talk played the biggest part in his victory. Speaking during a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered, “The Highlight” put Aldo’s crushing defeat down to the Brazilian’s pre-fight emotions.
“90 percent mental, 10 percent physical. I mean, Conor McGregor, you know, some of his success was his ability to make people fight certain fights. You know, not necessarily José Aldo. José Aldo didn’t go out there and fight José Aldo’s fight. You know, he was emotional and if you are fighting emotionally you will not win. You know, you will not be your best.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
According to Gaethje, carrying emotions into the cage is one of the cardinal sins of the fight game. The former interim 155-pound champ went on to say that preventing his opponent from getting into his head is of top priority before entering into the Octagon.
“As much as it’s, like, such an emotional experience, you really have to be void of any emotion in the fight…and then my number one rule is never let somebody affect my thoughts or emotions or, you know, the way that I process my feelings.”
Gaethje will look to maintain that rule when he enters the Octagon for the first time in 2021. Having not fought since his championship loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, “The Highlight” will make his first appearance in over a year when he faces Michael Chandler at UFC 268.
Given that the pair have already exchanged some words, Gaethje will be keen to avoid falling foul to a similar situation as Aldo at UFC 194.
Do you agree with Justin Gaethje? Did Conor McGregor get the better of José Aldo through his mental warfare?
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