Featherweight Legend, UFC/WEC Champ Jose Aldo Retires

Jose Aldo, UFC 278
Jose Aldo, UFC 278 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

One of the greatest featherweights to ever put on a pair of 4oz gloves has decided to retire from mixed martial arts.

Jose Aldo (31-8), the UFC’s inaugural featherweight champion and a former 145lb champ in WEC as well, has been removed from the promotion’s ranking pool after informing officials of his decision to retire. News of the move was first reported by Brazilian outlet Combate.

Just days earlier, Aldo’s coach Andre Pederneiras told Combate that ‘I’d tell him to stop. I think Aldo has already conquered a lot and it won’t be this last fight [against Merab Dvalishvili] that will take away his legacy in the sport.”

However, Pederneiras believed that Aldo, with one fight left on his UFC deal, might opt to fight as part of January’s card in Rio. It appears that will not be the case.

Aldo last competed against Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in July, losing a unanimous decision. The defeat halted a three-fight win streak for the ex-champ, who in recent years had been competing as a bantamweight.

The heyday of “Scarface,” however, came at 145lbs. Kicking off his career in 2004, Aldo arrived in World Extreme Cagefighting in 2008 and the following year found himself in a title eliminator against Cub Swanson. Months later, Aldo would defeat Mike Brown for the WEC featherweight championship, defending it twice before the UFC absorbed the promotion, introducing lower weight classes including featherweight.

Promoted to UFC featherweight champion, Aldo defended the belt seven times before dropping the title in just 13 seconds to Conor McGregor at UFC 194. But prior to that shocking setback, Aldo had turned back names like Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Kenny Florian, Urijah Faber (in WEC), Kenny Florian, and others.

After losing his belt, Aldo would claim an interim title opposite Frankie Edgar in a rematch of their 2013 meeting. Aldo would come out on top, and was later promoted to undisputed champ status when McGregor was stripped of the belt while pursuing a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Aldo would then drop the title to Max Holloway, and lose an immediate rematch as well.

Following three more fights at featherweight that saw Aldo post a 2-1 record, the Brazilian dropped to 135lbs. He would fight for the bantamweight title in 2020 despite coming off a loss in a highly controversial fight against Marlon Moares, only to come up short against Petr Yan. Aldo’s three-fight win streak from 2020 to 2021 had many wondering if he might have one last shot at gold — but Dvalishvili put a stop to that.

Regardless, Jose Aldo is a first ballot Hall of Famer who will be remembered as one of the greatest featherweight, and lighter weight in general, fighters of all time.


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