One of the consensus greatest fighters of all time has retired from mixed martial arts.
“The King of Rio” Jose Aldo recently informed the UFC of his plans to stop fighting. MMA Junkie confirmed the news with a source close to the situation following an initial report Sunday from Brazilian outlet Combate. Aldo, 36, had one fight on his UFC contract at the time of his retirement.
In recent weeks, retirement was speculated. Aldo mentioned it to opponent Merab Dvalishvili after a unanimous decision loss at UFC 278 in August. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak for Aldo.
Aldo steps away from MMA with a 21-7 UFC record and one of the most lengthy accolade lists in promotion history. He is a former two-time featherweight champion, former interim champion, and former WEC champion. His seven UFC featherweight title defenses rank first all-time. He is also a six-time performance bonus winner.
Known for his signature leg kicks and “Run This Town” walkout, as well as his legendary takedown defense and ability to evolve with new waves of talent, Aldo leaves the sport as one of the most elite and respected fighters of his generation.
Born in Manaus Brazil, Aldo started to train martial arts as a teenager, as he put aside aspirations for a soccer career. At 17, he had his first MMA fight, one that kickstarted a seven-fight winning streak. In 2005, Aldo lost for the first time. It would be another decade before he reentered that column.
Three more wins landed Aldo an opportunity in the WEC. Five victories under the WEC banner earned him a title shot against then-champion Mike Brown, who he finished in Round 2. He defended his title against Urijah Faber and Manny Gamburyan before the UFC merger in 2011.
Featherweight was a new weight class for the UFC, so Aldo was adopted as titleholder. From April 2011 to October 2015, Aldo defended his title successfully seven times against the likes of Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, and Frankie Edgar among others.
All this set up the biggest bout of his career, a battle against rising superstar and arch nemesis Conor McGregor. After months of trash talk and a failed booking, Aldo was knocked out in 13 seconds – and a new champion was crowned.
Aldo then won back-to-back fights against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano, but a loss to Alexander Volkanovski caused a drop to bantamweight.
Aug 20, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Merab Dvalishvili (blue gloves) during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
There was much ado about his divisional debut against Marlon Moraes in December 2019. Aldo lost via controversial split decision, but by no means looked out of place against a recent title challenger.
Despite two losses in as many outings, Aldo was granted a title shot against Petr Yan after Henry Cejudo retired and vacated the title. Yan finished Aldo with strikes in Round 4.
Still, Aldo persisted. From December 2020 to December 2021, Aldo defeated Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font in succession. That led to his UFC 278 defeat to Dvalishvili on Aug. 20.