After three more WEC knockouts, he faced Cub Swanson in June 2009, ending the fight in eight seconds, with no typos.
Five months later he was the WEC featherweight champion, taking the belt from Mike Brown, then came a punishing five-round victory over Faber in the biggest fight in WEC history. A final title defense against Manny Gamburyan followed before he was named the first featherweight champion in UFC history as the promotion brought in fighters from the WEC and launched the 145 and 135 pound divisions.
WATCH: Aldo’s best finishes
Aldo had arrived, and by the time he traveled to New York for the aforementioned press rally, he had successfully defended his crown five times, defeating Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung.
His skills were obviously elite, but it was his mindset that kept him at the top.
“I keep dreaming like them,” he told me before the Lamas fight when asked how he fought like a hungry challenger instead of a sure champion (and maybe complacent) night after night.