Saturday, December 3, 2022

Costa Explains Why Aldo Retirement Took Him By Surprise

UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa has admitted his surprise at compatriot José Aldo’s decision to call time on his mixed martial arts career.

Aldo, widely regarded as the greatest featherweight of all time, was in the midst of a late resurgence at 135 pounds entering 2022. After falling short of capturing the bantamweight gold against Petr Yan in 2020, “Junior” embarked on a three-fight win streak that saw him climb into the top five and within touching distance of another title shot.

But having had his charge stalled by smothering Georgian grappler Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278, Aldo was left out of contention and with just one fight left on his contract. Heeding the advice of his coach, the Brazilian made the decision to retire.

Given his performances last year, which included a dominant headlining display against Rob Font just over eight months ago, and the manner in which he was defeated by “The Machine,” many were taken aback by Aldo’s career-ending call. That includes fellow Brazilian fighter Costa.

Costa: ‘Aldo Should Have Finished Career In Rio’

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Costa reacted after Aldo brought his illustrious 39-fight professional MMA career to a close following an Octagon tenure that saw him forge a record-breaking reign on the 145-pound throne.

“Borrachinha” admitted his shock at the decision, especially given that the UFC is set to return to Brazil in January for a pay-per-view card in Rio de Janeiro. Like many, Costa suggested that the promotion’s return to the South American nation would have marked a fitting farewell for Aldo.

“I was surprised. I was a little bit shocked when I saw because he had one fight to go, and UFC Rio is coming up,” Costa said. “So, I really think he should be there in Rio to do the last one. It would be perfect. But, I don’t think Aldo is happy to still be fighting (in the UFC) right now. I think, to me, he thinks his time is over and he lost a good opportunity. It’s sad, but he’s a great fighter, a great idol.”

Despite the Brazil-held card being just months away, Aldo has decided against fighting out his contract. With his release from the deal, the Brazilian agreed to retire from MMA, meaning a return to competition in the form of boxing or grappling is still on the cards for the 36-year-old legend.

Do you agree with Paulo Costa? Should José Aldo have finished his career with one final fight in Rio?