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Aldo's coach says fighter had leg injury prior to Holloway fight

Jose Aldo lost his featherweight belt to Max Holloway at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on June 3. Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo suffered a leg injury prior to his loss to Max Holloway this month, according to his coach, Andre Pederneiras.

Aldo (26-3) surrendered his 145-pound championship to Holloway at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro. Holloway (18-3) won the fight via TKO at 4:31 of the third round.

Many observers were surprised at Aldo's lack of kicks. The Brazilian's leg kicks are considered some the best in the world and have been a staple of his game throughout his career.

Speaking to Fox Fight Club this week, Pederneiras, head coach of Nova Uniao, revealed that Aldo had suffered a leg injury during camp that prevented him from throwing kicks.

"Every fight the athlete enters, he has some kind of injury, and Aldo is no different, he has his," Pederneiras said, as translated by MMAFighting.com. "Many people asked why he didn't kick. Aldo has a leg injury, so he couldn't throw kicks or run during his entire camp.

"That doesn't take anything away from Max Holloway's win. We don't want to say that. It was even funny because we would go back [outside the Octagon] between rounds and the crowd said, 'Tell him to kick.' But we, the cornermen, were the only [ones] aware of it. We avoided the kicks because of this injury. We were afraid it would strain his muscle."

Aldo looked comfortable on his feet early against the 25-year-old Hawaiian, but Holloway started to find his range in the second round. According to Fightmetric, Aldo landed 56 total strikes compared with Holloway's 128. Only one of Aldo's landed strikes was scored to Holloway's leg.

"He spent his entire camp working on his boxing and his takedown, his ground game," Pederneiras said. "Since Aldo felt well standing in the first rounds, he decided not to go for takedowns, but [Holloway's] punch landed and everything changed."

Aldo, 30, protested the referee's stoppage at UFC 212, though Pederneiras later stated that he felt the stoppage was correct. Aldo is considered the most dominant featherweight champion in UFC history, but he has lost two of his past three, both losses coming via knockout.

Prior to UFC 212, Pederneiras told ESPN.com the team had a plan to eventually force a rematch against current lightweight champion Conor McGregor, whom Aldo lost to via knockout in late 2015. For now, it appears he will stay at featherweight. Holloway is expected to face either Frankie Edgar or Cub Swanson next.