Former UFC champion Jose Aldo retires after 18 years in MMA

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Jose Aldo finishes his MMA career with a 31-8 record and has faced nearly every elite featherweight and bantamweight of his era. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Mixed martial arts athletes have evolved exponentially over the past 15 years, bringing the sport to near peak performance. What they really did in that time, however, was catch Jose Aldo.

Former WEC and UFC featherweight champion, known as ‘King of Rio’ for his dominance in the sport for more than a decade, has decided to retire after a loss to Merab Dvalishvili last month on the UFC 278 main card in Salt. Lake City, Utah. Combate first reported the news.

Aldo, 36, retires with a 31-8 overall rating in MMA and a 21-7 record in WEC/UFC. Zuffa owned both the WEC and the UFC when Aldo joined the WEC amid much hype in 2007, and featherweight was not a weight class in the UFC.

He won his first 15 fights in the promotion before being knocked out in just 13 seconds by Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in 2015. McGregor’s trash talk for months enraged Aldo so much that when the fight started, Aldo ran to McGregor and McGregor cut him off with a counter hook to the chin.

This, however, was one of the few low points in his career.

There was almost nothing Aldo couldn’t do as a fighter. His kicks were as fearsome and effective as any fighter in MMA history. Particularly in his prime, his takedown defense was impregnable, and if a fight came to the ground, well, he was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who was a bronze medalist in his weight class at the Jiu World Championships. -Jitsu 2001. .

Aldo was a great Muay Thai fighter with formidable hands, formidable elbows and a chin of granite.

“If you look at how long this guy has been an absolute warrior, man, how long he’s been at the top of the game, it’s unbelievable,” UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports. “He started in the WEC and then came here and had an incredible career in the UFC. He helped build this sport. He helped build this organization, this brand. I love the kid, I love him. respect him a lot and I wish him the best in everything he does in the future.

He was the kind of guy who fought in the ring. There were no chatter or gimmicks with Aldo. He was a stoic personality outside the cage who was a beast inside.

Many of the biggest sports stars have become his fans. UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier, now a broadcaster on ESPN, would, in his words, “geek out” around Aldo.

Aldo helped push the sport forward, Cormier said.

“Jose Aldo was a terrific champion and was one of the guys who evolved the sport of MMA,” Cormier told Yahoo Sports. “He was one of those guys who was ahead of his time when he was champion. Even until his last fight, I was still in awe of his greatness. He was that elite striker that we couldn’t shoot down. He was on the next level.

Aldo fought a who’s who among the greatest featherweights and bantamweights of all time. He met Max Holloway, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar twice each and also fought McGregor, Marlon Vera, Petr Yan, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson, Renato Moicano, Ricardo Lamas, Pedro Munhoz, Chan Sung Jung, Mike Brown, Kenny Florian , Rob Font. and Merab Dvalishvili, among many others.

He was always in good shape and fought with a fierce intensity that often led to sensational fights.

He won Fight of the Night four times, Knockout of the Night three times, and Performance of the Night twice.

His fight with Faber on April 24, 2010 at WEC 48 was one of the biggest in that promotion’s history. He defended the featherweight title he won from Brown a fight earlier with a brilliant performance highlighted by a brutal kicking attack to the leg from Faber. It was the first PPV in WEC history.

Like UFC Hall of Famer Cormier, Faber had been the face of the WEC and Aldo’s win was something of a transition. The win made Aldo the face of all of the sport’s lighter weight classes.

“I’ve always considered Jose Aldo to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet,” Faber said. “His physical gifts, well-rounded game and champion mentality made him one of a kind. I had the good fortune to compete against him for a world championship, share my gym with him in America and to be invited to his gym in Brazil. A true champion, and a great person out of the cage! Can’t wait to see what’s next for him, congratulations on his great career!

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