Sunday, August 14, 2022

Aldo Brings Retirement Plan Forward, Targets BW Gold & Exit

Former UFC featherweight champion José Aldo has provided an updated timeline for his retirement from the sport of MMA.

Aldo, who held 145-pound gold in the UFC and WEC between 2009 and 2015, is currently in the midst of a resurgence inside the Octagon — one that’s left him within touching distance of another title.

Following a 2019 loss to Alexander Volkanovski, Aldo made the move to 135 pounds. While the drop to bantamweight was questioned by many, something consecutive losses to Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan only enhanced, “Junior” has since found form and a place back in contention.

Having cemented a top-five spot with victories over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font, some have suggested that Also should be fighting for Aljamain Sterling‘s belt next over TJ Dillashaw.

But with the UFC not sharing that sentiment, Aldo will need to go through elite grappler Merab Dvalishvili next month at UFC 278 to secure his place at the front of the queue for a title shot.

While his current form has led many to believe that Also has a lot left to give, not to mention previous remarks that suggested he’ll be fighting until he reaches 40, Aldo has seemingly had a change of heart when it comes to when he’ll be hanging up his gloves.

Aldo: “I’m Very Close To Retiring”

During a recent interview with Combate, Aldo appeared to ditch the goal of fighting to 40, with the hope now being to win gold at a second weight class before exiting the sport soon after.

“When we first started, I told Dedé [Pederneiras] that at 35, I’d be champion and I’d retire,” Aldo recalled. “That is why I say that I’m very close to retiring, though I used to say I’d retire as a champion. You can give me Merab Dvalishvili, he’s a really tough guy, well-ranked, that nobody wants to fight. I’ll beat him and then I’ll win the belt, it’s already written.

“Dedé and I used to dream about being double champions at featherweight and lightweight, but that ended up being different. We dropped to bantamweight and we’re about to fight for the title in this division,” Aldo continued. “I started out at bantamweight, I never thought I’d make that cut again. Now I’m ending my career at bantamweight, right where I started.”

When the term “retiring on top” is mentioned, the names of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre come to mind. While the Dagestani called it quits while on the lightweight mountaintop with a 29-0 record, the Canadian took a hiatus following his ninth straight welterweight defense before returning for a sole middleweight title win four years later.

Although Aldo is also looking to culminate his career with a return to championship status, his iteration of retiring on top would come against all odds, with many, including Khabib, writing him off following his defeat to Yan.

Do you think José Aldo can win the bantamweight gold before retiring?

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