The UFC is full of the toughest fighters on the planet. Only a fool would question their heart, desire and commitment to reach the top of the mountain. However, the UFC’s top stars are only human. Just like anyone else, they can be intimidated.
Over the years, we’ve seen numerous examples of UFC fighters who were tough as nails, but were still visibly intimidated before facing an opponent.
Sometimes this is due to that fighter getting into their opponent’s head. Other times it’s been simply because the UFC set up a fight that in all honesty, probably shouldn’t have happened.
But whenever it is noticeable, it’s both shocking and fascinating to see.
Here are five times that a UFC fighter was visibly intimidated by their opponent.
#5. Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 194
Heading into UFC 194, Jose Aldo probably should’ve been full of confidence. Not only was the Brazilian considered to be by far the greatest featherweight in MMA history at that stage, but he’d also won 18 fights in a row. Seven of those victories came in the UFC.
But he was faced with the trash-talking, ultra-confident Conor McGregor, who had reeled off six straight wins of his own. In the main event of one of the biggest UFC shows of all time, Aldo appeared to simply wilt.
It was immediately visible that the featherweight kingpin looked intimidated. He seemed less animated during his walk to the octagon. And while he’d never met the eyes of an opponent in a staredown, against McGregor, he looked more nervous than ever before.
This was even noticed by UFC announcer Joe Rogan. Off air, he remarked to a producer that not only did the Brazilian look “soft” and “deflated,” but that he also looked “nervous as f*ck.”
Whether the magnitude of the situation had gotten to him, or whether McGregor’s verbal barbs and dangerous reputation had planted a seed of doubt in his head, remains a mystery.
But when it came to fight time, Aldo didn’t look right at all. He walked right into a brutal left hand counter from the ‘Notorious’ megastar that knocked him senseless in just 13 seconds.
Just like that, Aldo’s UFC featherweight title reign was over. It appeared to have ended at the hands of the one opponent who was able to intimidate him.