Jose Aldo will always have a home with the UFC.
Speaking to the media after the UFC’s latest Contender Series event, UFC President Dana White was asked for his thoughts on Aldo’s recent retirement and he had nothing but wholehearted praise for the longtime featherweight champion.
“We love him,” White said. “This will always be his house. I told him, ‘If you ever need anything here, you ever want to go to an event, this is always your house.’ This is a guy that from the WEC to the UFC helped build the sport, this brand, and Brazil for us. We love him and we always will. He’s made a great life for himself down there too and done some great things and made a lot of money and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”
In his 14-year run with the UFC and the Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting promotion, Aldo, 36, was a two-time featherweight champion who authored nine straight successful title defenses. He also became a contender in the bantamweight division, competing once for a vacant title and remaining in the top 10 of the rankings until his retirement.
Aldo defeated numerous top fighters from his era, including Urijah Faber, Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, and Mike Brown, as well as current contenders Rob Font and Marlon Vera.
For White, it was Aldo’s first win over Mendes that sticks out most in his mind. At UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro in January 2012, the Brazilian star scored a stunning knee knockout of Mendes and then proceeded to exit the cage and run into a frenzied crowd.
“That time — I think the fight was in Rio — when he jumped out of the octagon and jumped in the crowd and the crowd was carrying him around and the place was going nuts,” White said. “That’s one of my favorite Jose Aldo moments. Security doesn’t love it, but I do.”