Jose Aldo and Andre Pederneiras: Marcelo Alonso | Sherdog.com
While fans were no doubt disappointed to learn of Jose Aldo’s withdrawal from UFC 125, the top-ranked featherweight’s trainer says the news hit no one harder than Aldo himself.
“It was such a really tough task for me to convince him not to fight. He wanted to fight anyway. He was really excited to make his UFC debut, but I told him [fighting] in such a crisis state, he may have really serious problems,” Andre Pederneiras, head of Nova Uniao, told Sherdog.com. “He argued that he wanted to fight anyway, that people would think he was chickening out, but I insisted and convinced him.”
On Tuesday, it was reported that the newly-christened UFC featherweight champion had been forced to pull out of his New Year’s Day title defense against Josh Grispi, but Pederneiras says the injury existed long before Aldo traveled to Michigan last weekend to receive his new belt at UFC 123.
“He’s felt this pain in his right arm for a long time, but you know how the tough guys behave. He just took an anti-inflammatory and kept training,” said Pederneiras. “But during training for his last two fights, it started to be more painful and, even with the medicine, he was complaining. Before we traveled for UFC 123, we went to a doctor and he said that he believed Aldo had some problem in his cervical spine, but he could only confirm after seeing the images from the exam.”
When the Nova Uniao team returned from the states, they got the bad news.
“When we returned, the doctor called me to say that Aldo had a reduction of the space between some vertebrae, and between C5 and C6, it was touching the medulla, which was causing the problem in the arm,” Pederneiras explained. “The doctor said that if Aldo doesn’t stop immediately for a month of physiotherapy [to realign the vertebrae], he could have more serious problems that prevent him from training for a longer time and require him to have surgery.”
Then came the toughest part: convincing the champ not to fight in the biggest match of his young career.
“It was really hard. It was like hell for me. He was really disappointed and even cried after we made the decision,” Pederneiras said. “But finally, now we made the right decision. He’ll start physiotherapy and I think, in three months, he can finally make his Octagon debut."