Former UFC champion Jose Aldo retires from mixed martial arts

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One of the greatest fighters of all time has retired from mixed martial arts.

“The King of Rio” Jose Aldo recently notified the UFC of his plans to retire from fighting. MMA Junkie confirmed the news with a source close to the situation after an initial report from Brazilian outlet Combate on Sunday. Aldo, 36, had one fight on his UFC contract when he retired.

In recent weeks, there has been speculation about retirement. Aldo told opponent Merab Dvalishvili after a unanimous loss at UFC 278 in August. The defeat broke a three-fight winning streak for Aldo.

Aldo steps away from MMA with a UFC record of 21-7 and one of the longest honors lists in promotional history. He is a former two-time featherweight champion, former interim champion and former WEC champion. His seven UFC title defenses are ranked first in all time. He is also a six-time performance bonus winner.

Aldo is known for his signature leg kicks and ‘Run This Town’ strike, as well as his legendary defense against attack and his ability to evolve with new waves of talent. He leaves the sport as one of the most elite and respected fighters of his generation.

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Born in Manaus, Brazil, Aldo began training martial arts as a teenager, while putting aside his ambitions for a football career. At age 17, he had his first MMA fight, one that kicked off a seven-fight win streak. In 2005 Aldo lost for the first time. It would be another decade before he would appear in that column again.

Three more wins gave Aldo a chance in the WEC. Five wins under the WEC banner gave him a title shot against then-champion Mike Brown, which 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 hired as the title holder. From April 2011 to October 2015, Aldo successfully defended his title seven times against the likes of Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung and Frankie Edgar.

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All of this resulted in the biggest bout of his career, a battle against rising superstar and nemesis Conor McGregor. After months of talk and a failed booking, Aldo was knocked out in 13 seconds and a new champion was crowned.

Aldo won an interim title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, while McGregor stood on the side of the cage to grill the winner. However, the rematch would never take place, as McGregor was forced to relinquish the title.

Aldo was again the undisputed champion, losing the title to Max Holloway the next time. The two got back together six months later, but the result was the same: a third-round TKO for Holloway.

Aldo went on to win back-to-back fights against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano, but a loss to Alexander Volkanovski caused the bantamweight to drop.

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August 20, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights against Merab Dvalishvili (blue gloves) during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena. Mandatory credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of fuss about his divisional debut against Marlon Moraes in December 2019. Aldo lost via controversial split decision, but certainly didn’t seem out of place against a recent title challenger.

Despite two defeats in as many appearances, Aldo got a title shot against Petr Yan after Henry Cejudo retired and vacated the title. Yan ended Aldo with strikes in round 4.

Still, Aldo persisted. From December 2020 to December 2021, Aldo successively defeated Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. That led to his UFC 278 defeat to Dvalishvili on August 20.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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