The best tip that Chan-Sung Jung's trainers could have given him during training camp would have been to avoid watching film of Jose Aldo Jr. at all costs
Viewing just a few minutes of Aldo highlights could be enough to discourage a guy from even getting on a plane and making the long trip to Brazil. That's where Jung will face Aldo on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro.
Aldo is, in some ways, the Jon Jones of the featherweight division. He's a freakishly good athlete with seemingly no flaws for an opponent to attack. If he's to lose, it's almost certain to come from a mistake he's made rather than an opponent successfully exploiting a weakness.
Aldo, 26, fends off roughly 90 percent of takedown attempts. Opponents miss three of every four strikes against him. No one so much has had a submission attempt on him during his 12 UFC or World Extreme Cagefighting fights.
But it's offensively where Aldo is most like Jones, the UFC's lanky light heavyweight champion. Aldo has the ability to strike from any angle. His kicks are brutally powerful and, so far, no one has stopped them. His punches are hard, fast and accurate. He's a jiu-jitsu black belt who can hold his own on the floor with anyone in mixed martial arts.
Aldo's popularity outside his native Brazil is miniscule compared to his overall talent. He's eschewed learning English and gives up very little in interviews. He often comes across as dour and stoic.
Because of that, he hasn't been embraced by non-Brazilians the way the more charismatic champions invariably are.
In the cage, though, he's about as good as it gets. Aldo has essentially cleaned out one of the UFC's deepest divisions. Without much fanfare, Aldo is closing in on records that earned his countryman, former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, almost universal acclaim as the greatest MMA fighter in history.
Before losing to Chris Weidman at UFC 162, Silva was 16-0 in the UFC and 11-0 in title fights. If Aldo's WEC stats are counted – Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, also owned the WEC, which in 2010 was then folded into the UFC – he's not far away from Silva. Aldo is 12-0 in UFC/WEC competition and 7-0 in title fights.
Silva seemed consumed by the pressure prior to his loss to Weidman, but it doesn't appear to have affected Aldo. He hasn't been the face of the sport the way Silva was, and has a vastly lower profile than most of the other UFC champions outside of Brazil.
Jung, best known as "The Korean Zombie," is on a three-fight winning streak, with all of them coming in spectacular fashion. In 2011, he submitted Leonard Garcia with a twister, the first and still only twister ever hit in pro MMA competition. Jung knocked out Mark Hominick in just 6.2 seconds, the second-fastest knockout in UFC history. And then, in perhaps 2012's best fight, the Zombie submitted Dustin Poirier with a D'Arce choke.
Aldo, though, isn't fearful. He just sees opportunity. The Zombie is hardly known for his defense, and Aldo is one of the sport's most accurate, efficient and, yes, lethal strikers. And that is exactly why Aldo is about an 8-1 favorite.
"Brazilian fans love to see a standing fight, and the Zombie likes to strike as much as I do, but he leaves openings when he attacks so wildly," Aldo said. "I think that is going to make a big difference. He will leave openings for me [and] give me plenty of time and space to knock him out. But I think our two styles will make a very exciting fight for the fans for however long it lasts."
The Zombie has been in the 2010 and 2012 Fights of the Year, and he pulled off the 2011 Submission of the Year. Aldo has had three Knockout of the Night awards and two Fight of the Night awards in his 12 Zuffa fights.
But for the fight to drag on, let alone end in the Zombie's favor, would be one of the great upsets in UFC history.
It won't be long before Aldo is spoken in the same reverential terms that Silva once was.