What do we really know about Jose Aldo?

Ahead of this weekend's featherweight bout, Off The Ball spoke to UFC.com's Jessica Portasio about the Brazilian

What do we really know about Jose Aldo?

Felipe Dana / AP/Press Association Images

It's billed as perhaps the biggest fight in the UFC's history, as Conor McGregor seeks to unify his featherweight title belt in the early hours of Sunday morning Irish time.

Unsurprisingly, the focus has been predominantly on the Crumlin native and the extensive media coverage he has courted in the build up to the fight has seen the interim champion dominate the headlines.

With that said, the division's only ever champion and pound-for-pound best fighter has flown under the radar in what has become a never ending procession of press conferences and interviews.

Speaking on last night's Off The Ball, UFC.com's Jessica Portasio gave some insight into the mind of Jose Aldo and his unbeaten streak in the division.

"Aldo comes from a really poor background, after being born in Manaus he went to Rio de Janeiro to fight for a living" she said.

"He didn't have anything when he got to Rio, he had to sleep on the mats of the gym and had nothing to eat. So to see him come from this poor kid to the champion he is today is pretty impressive."

"He's probably the biggest MMA idol in Brazil today. He's the people's champion." 

Aldo has enjoyed seven successful title defenses to date and has gone the distance in three of his last four fights, claiming a Fight of the Night bonus against Frankie Edgar and most recently against Chad Mendes.

Aldo celebrates with fans after defeating Chad Mendes, in the first round during their featherweight title bout in 2012. Image: Felipe Dana / AP/Press Association Images

His bouts with Mendes are something, Portasio says, that has caused his popularity to sky rocket in South America.

"He started becoming more recognised after the Mendes fight in Rio [in October 2014]. That was the point he grew into the idol that he is today and is surpassing fighters like Anderson Silva."

The mental preparation after his return from injury coupled with a less hectic media tour has allowed Aldo to enjoy a less strenuous training camp and Portasio insists that McGregor's mind-games haven't had as much of an impact as previously thought.

"The only person who can really know whether he's inside Aldo's head is Aldo himself. Compared to when the fight was first announced and they did the world tour, I think Aldo is more relaxed than he was before."

To listen to the full interview, you can click the podcast below.