Jose Aldo Melts Jeremy Stephens with Vicious Body Punch Before Finishing by TKO

Jose Aldo won his first non-title fight since 2009 with a vicious first round stoppage against highly touted knockout artist Jeremy Stephens

Jose Aldo may not be the UFC featherweight champion any longer but that doesn’t mean he’s still not one of the most dangerous fighters in the world.

The former 145-pound king returned to the Octagon on Saturday night for his first non-title fight since 2009 after suffering back-to-back losses to current champ Max Holloway. It took Aldo less than a round to remind the world how good he can be as he handed Jeremy Stephens a TKO loss in Calgary

Despite a resume that reads like a who’s who of top fighters from the featherweight division, Aldo still walked into his co-main event fight on Saturday as the betting underdog.

Through the first couple of minutes of the fight it looked like Stephens would prove the odds makers right as he landed several blistering punches that seemingly staggered Aldo. One particular exchange saw Stephens crack Aldo with a nasty uppercut that put the former champion on wobbly legs.

Stephens did his best to follow up but Aldo showed incredible resiliency as he began ducking out of the way of the bombs being dropped from his opponent and then returning fire with shots of his own.

Aldo began catching Stephens with his powerful punches as the former lightweight turned featherweight saw his face painted red thanks to a couple of cuts opened up courtesy of the former champion.

While he was doing a lot of head hunting it was a perfectly timed left hook to the body that absolutely brutalized Stephens’ insides as he fell backwards in pain from the thudding shot.

Aldo quickly followed up with a barrage of punches and hammer fists that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight as the Brazilian immediately jumped up in celebration.

It was an emotional moment for Aldo as he got back in the win column after falling short in his last two fights against Holloway.

“The champion’s back. I’ve just got to keep it up,” Aldo said following the win.

While it’s not likely Aldo is going to see Holloway again, the former champion certainly proved that he remains one of the best featherweights in the world following a strong performance over a very dangerous opponent on Saturday night while also earning his first stoppage since 2013.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.