After an illustrious 18 year old career Jose Aldo has finally decided to retire from MMA. Even though the former featherweight champion has one fight left on his contract, the UFC has decided to release Aldo, allowing him to pursue other combat sports enterprises if he so chooses.
In the previous 15 years, mixed martial arts players have advanced dramatically, bringing the discipline close to its apex. They had actually been catching up to Jose Aldo during that period.
Aldo (31-8) is recognised as one of the best fighters ever pound-for-pound and as the greatest featherweight to ever step inside the cage. He won 25 of his first 26 professional fights, including many highlight-reel knockouts and convincing decisions.
The announcement comes less than a month after Aldo's last contest, a three-fight winning streak-ending unanimous decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278.
Aldo made his professional debut in August 2004 and started off 10-1 until joining the World Extreme Cagefighting organization in 2008. Before facing Mike Brown for the featherweight title at WEC 44, Aldo kept up his winning ways by knocking out his next five opponents. At the age of 23, Aldo defeated Brown via TKO in the second round to win his first championship.
Before switching to the UFC as part of a corporate merger in 2010, Aldo successfully defended that title twice. He was then instantly elevated to the position of first-ever UFC featherweight champion. Before losing it to Conor McGregor at UFC 194, he successfully defended the championship seven times in a row, still a UFC record. He then won an interim title at UFC 200, which was later elevated to undisputed status in McGregor's absence.
Aldo was a warrior who could almost accomplish anything. He had kicks that were as powerful and potent as any fighter in MMA history. When he was at his best, his takedown defense was unbeatable, and if a fight ever went to the ground, he was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and the 2001 World Jiu-Jitsu Championships bronze medallist in his weight class.
Aldo is probably going to keep practicing different combat sports in the future. Like fellow UFC veterans Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, he may try his hand at boxing. He could also fight in muay thai and jiu-jitsu. We might have seen the last of him inside the octagon but it might not be the last time we saw ‘King of Rio’ in action.