Gray Maynard has always had respect for UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo – so much so that he reached out to the Brazilian in an effort to help him prepare for his upcoming title defense against Chad Mendes – but it wasn’t until he actually shared the mat with the 25-year-old.
Maynard spoke with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani recently, explaining that Aldo far exceeded his high expectations and may be the best fighter with whom he’s ever trained.
“I knew he was good, but I had no idea he was as good as he is in every area. Really unbelievable, especially his takedown defense. That goes for all of Nova Uniao [Aldo’s home gym] also.
“He’s really one of the most, if not the most complete fighter I’ve ever worked with.”
Aldo will take on undefeated Team Alpha Male prospect Chad Mendes this Saturday night in the main event of UFC 142, another fighter whom Maynard respects, though he doesn’t feel is ready to challenge Aldo for the belt.
“I think Mendes is a tough kid, but I think its too early for him to fight Jose Aldo,” Maynard asserted.
UFC 142 goes down at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; FightLine will be offering live, ongoing coverage of the event as always.