Jose Aldo’s legendary career has come to an end.
MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz confirmed with sources with knowledge of the news that the two-time UFC featherweight champion and current bantamweight contender has retired from MMA competition, putting a bow on an 18-year career that saw him earn a reputation as one of the greatest fighters in combat sports history. Combate was first to report the news.
Aldo (31-8) is widely regarded as the greatest featherweight fighter of all time as well as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters to ever step into the cage. He won 25 of his first 26 pro bouts, with numerous highlight-reel knockouts and dominant decisions among those victories.
MMA Fighting also confirmed that Aldo’s team negotiated a release from his UFC contract with one bout remaining, meaning that he is free to pursue an oft-discussed move to boxing or other combat sports opportunities.
The news comes less than a month after Aldo’s most recent fight, a unanimous decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 that snapped a three-fight win streak. He retires as the No. 6 bantamweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings.
Debuting as a professional in August 2004, Aldo went 10-1 to begin his career before signing with the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion in 2008. Aldo’s winning ways continued as he defeated his next five opponents by knockout before challenging Mike Brown for a featherweight title at WEC 44. Aldo scored a second-round TKO of Brown to claim his first championship at the age of 23.
Aldo successfully defended that title twice before making the move to the UFC as part of a company merger in 2010, where he was immediately promoted to the status of inaugural UFC featherweight champion. He successfully defended that title seven consecutive times (still a UFC record) before losing it to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 and later won an interim title (that was eventually promoted to undisputed status in McGregor’s absence) at UFC 200.
In 2019, Aldo dropped down to the bantamweight division, where he soon found himself in a vacant title bout after losing a hotly contested split decision to Marlon Moraes. He lost to Petr Yan by fifth-round TKO at UFC 251, but rebounded from that championship loss with consecutive wins over top-ranked fighters Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font.