MMA journalist Ariel Helwani has given his take on what he’ll remember the most about José Aldo following the future UFC Hall of Famer’s retirement.
Aldo hinted at retirement in an alleged post-fight conversation with Merab Dvalishvili following their fight at UFC 278 last month. The loss to Dvalishvili snapped a three-fight winning streak at bantamweight.
Despite his up-and-down tenure at bantamweight, Aldo will go down as one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. His UFC featherweight title reign was one of the most dominant periods for a single fighter in UFC history.
While highlights of Aldo’s career will play for generations, Helwani believes Aldo’s greatest achievement was how he responded to one of his few periods of adversity.
Ariel Helwani Points To José Aldo’s Rebound From Conor McGregor Loss
During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani explained what sets Aldo apart from most other all-time greats.
“The one thing he was missing was the foil, right? He was missing that rivalry, he was missing that guy. Had it a little bit with Faber, was one-sided, and here comes Conor. And we know what happens…obviously when I think of José Aldo, I think of one of the greatest fighters of all-time…the title defenses, the main events, the knockouts, the wins, all those things have to be discussed,” Helwani said of Aldo. “But if you remember just how big that Conor fight was. The buildup, the heat, the world tour, the emotion, it was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The fact that Conor brought that to him…poked that bear…Aldo was shook. Knocks him out in 13 seconds…they go to the back, you see this footage of him crying…and you think to yourself this guy’s done. This could be it. How’s he gonna return from this?
“And what happens? Dusts himself off, wins the interim belt, fights for the 145 belt a couple times, goes down to 135…figures it out, goes on a run there, fights for that belt, seven years later he’s fighting in potential No. 1 contender fights,” Helwani continued on Aldo. “Seven years later he’s still in the mix. Seven years later he’s very relevant. He’s not getting knocked out, he’s not getting embarrassed…to me, his greatest legacy is that he didn’t let that moment, that soul-crushing moment, that potentially career-defining moment, he didn’t it let it define him, that to me is incredible and that’s not done by most fighters.”
After the loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194, he went on to earn the interim belt against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. He would go on to pick up featherweight wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens before making the move to 135lbs.
Despite the high mileage of his career, Aldo went on to fight for the bantamweight title against Petr Yan at UFC 251. After the title loss, he earned impressive wins over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font.
Aldo’s career is full of accomplishments and his greatest achievement might’ve been how he responded to one of the darkest moments of his career.
Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s take on José Aldo?