RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Jose Aldo is one of the greatest athletes to ever step a foot inside the Octagon, and it seems that 2019 will be his last year as a professional mixed martial arts fighter.
A former UFC and WEC featherweight titleholder, and arguably the best 145-pounder in MMA history, Aldo is scheduled to return to action on Feb. 2, taking on featherweight contender Renato Moicano in the co-main event of UFC Fortaleza in Brazil.
On Wednesday afternoon, Aldo revealed that his master plan for the year includes fighting the last three bouts he has left on his current deal with the company and walk away from the sport.
“I want to end my career here in Brazil. That’s what we have planned,” Aldo said during a UFC media day in Rio de Janeiro. “I want to do these three fights… I’ll fight in Fortaleza now, and I’m already negotiating my next one for May (UFC 237), if I’m not mistaken in Curitiba, and then finish it in the second semester, which I know will have another event in Brazil.”
Aldo went on to say he already has someone in mind as a potential opponent for UFC 237, should he beat Moicano in Fortaleza, but his coach and manager Andre Pederneiras said they haven’t discussed any possible names with the UFC yet.
“We asked them to complete Aldo’s contract fighting in Brazil so he could give the final three fights of his career to the Brazilian fans here,” Pederneiras told the media. “That’s his will, that’s what he asked Dana (White), and apparently that’s what’s going to happen.”
Asked if Aldo’s potential UFC 237 fight could take place in the lightweight division, Pederneiras jokingly said “it could be in any weight class, even at heavyweight.”
Aldo’s plan to retire after three fights is not up for debate, the former champion said, and that’s why he’s not actively campaigning for a shot at the 145-pound belt after UFC Fortaleza.
Pederneiras doesn’t believe the promotion would ever book him against current titleholder Max Holloway given Aldo’s previous losses to the Hawaiian — except in a short-notice bout, he said —, and the fact that a title win would automatically renew his contract with the promotion doesn’t interest the Brazilian fighter.
”There’s no reason to get here and aim for a title fight,” Aldo said, “But you can be sure that I’ll be a problem for whoever gets in front of me because I will win these three fights. You can be sure of this.”
Aldo also promises he doesn’t plan on competing in mixed martial arts for another promotion because he’s “very loyal” to the UFC. In 2020, he just wants to enjoy life and focus on “new projects” he declined to elaborate.
”I want to finish (my career) well and be healthy as well,” Aldo said. “One thing I said in my last fight is that I want to (retire) tomorrow and not use my money to buy my heath back. Today I give away my health to make my money, so I won’t do that.
”I want to enjoy my daughter, my wife, be able to travel, without fighting until I’m 40. I see our great idols doing that and having bad performances… I always tell ‘Dede’ (Pederneiras), if one day I’m not in my rhythm in terms of performance, take me out of there because it’s not for me to be in there anymore. I don't want to fight for money. I’ve planned my entire life so I could stop (fighting) without any problem.”