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Whatever Happened To Jose Aldo?

Ryan Cambridge Investigates where it all went wrong for the greatest featherweight MMA has ever known

What has happened to Jose Aldo? After being so dominant for so many years, few saw him ever losing and assumed he would retire on top of the world and be seen as one of the greatest fighters of all time. Recent times have thrown Aldo’s greatness into doubt though after first losing, in the worst way possible for a striker – emphatically via first-round KO, to Conor McGregor, Then Max Holloway, twice in succession. The Brazilian has looked a shadow of his former self of late and it’s doubtful if the former MMA Fighter of the Year will ever grace the Octagon again.

With no fight on the horizon, nobody knows when or indeed if we will see Aldo return, largely as he’s remained silent since the second loss to Holloway. He has teased with pursuing a career in boxing, but it seems unlikely a career switch at this stage in his life would bear fruit.

The Nova Uniaostandout first bolted onto the scene in 2004. Over various different organisations, Aldo earned a record of 10-1 with the majority of his wins by stoppage before being signed for WEC. Winning his first belt, he flew across the cage and hit Cub Swanson with a flying knee which folded ‘Killer Cub’ up like a deck chair. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt won his next fight against Mike Brown by knockout before defeating Uriah Faber to establish himself as the best featherweight on the planet.

By now the world had become enamoured by the blew cage’s lighter weight classes, especially it’s 145lb star. But suggestions of a switch over to join the UFC’s bubbling lightweight division just didn’t appeal to the Brazilian. He knew his star power wouldn’t go unnoticed by Dana White and co. Aldo told MMA Sports at the time: “I have thought about it, but my coach doesn’t like the idea. I want to defend my belt, nobody is going to take it away.” And he was right. Aldo made a successful third defence against Mark Hominick then the WEC merged with the UFC and he was crowned the inaugural UFC featherweight champion. And his domination continued in planet’s leading promotion. Lighting fast hands, killer instinct and tree chopping leg kicks were all weapons the champion had in his arsenal. Being a BJJ black belt meant his opponent would not want to engage Aldo in the ground game either, through the fear of his fierce ground ‘n’ pound and slick submission game.


Aldo defended his belt successfully seven times in the Octagon, racked up a record of 25-1. Being so dominant and undefeated against the best in the business for a decade rightfully established him as one of the sport’s biggest stars and the planet’s most popular fighters. The accolades soon followed ‘Fighter of the Year’, ‘Fight of the Year’ and the most title defences in UFC featherweight history, the 31-year-old had the respect of practically every fighter and fan on the All but a little-known Irishman called Conor McGregor, who is the undisputed champ he saw vulnerability and opportunity.

The greatest striker Brazil has ever seen since 1998 world cup winner Ronaldo, was faced with his greatest test. Brash McGregor was everything Aldo despised. A lack of respect, trash talking and mind games were all things ‘Notorious’ had used to rocket his way to the top fast. Originally scheduled for UFC 189, Aldo was forced out through injury. So, McGregor got a shot at the interim belt against Chad Mendes. Following his outstanding performance, the Irishman flew out of the cage, got in Aldo’s face and screamed at him, the rivalry was back on again. These two worlds would collide. In an interview with MMAJunkie, Aldo said: “There’s really no difference (between this fight and my others); you’re going to see me go in there and get the win. I don’t really care how I win I just care about winning. Really the only difference is I always beat Americans and this time I’m going to beat an Irishman. To me, he’s just the same. “I’ve fought a lot of the top fighters out there and to me, he’s really just another opponent that I have to go in there and beat.” Following a global tour promoting this fight, it finally went down at UFC 194.

McGregor was inside Aldo’s head. He flew at McGregor straight into a left hook which switched Aldo’s lights out almost instantly. He dropped like a lead balloon and 10 years of success was over. The most anticipated featherweight title fight in history was over in just 13 seconds. An emotional former champion said afterwards: ” we need a rematch, it wasn’t really a fight so we need to get back in here.” When asked if McGregor’s mind games had played a part in his performance, he offered: “It didn’t affect me at all, I really don’t care about what he says I just want to get back in here at this point.”

Aldo was not granted his wish on a rematch, instead, he fought Frankie Edgar for the vacant belt McGregor had given up to fight at lightweight and Aldo won his belt back in impressive, but far from spectacular fashion. Aldo went on to lose his fight against Max Holloway, got a rematch, and lost again. Both times Holloway made light work of the former champ and knocked him out in the third round. The 145LB torch had been passed on.

I doubt we will see Aldo in the Octagon again. He’s doing nothing for his legacy at this point and if he were to retire nobody would blame him, he would still become a UFC Hall of Famer. He’s done everything he set out to do in mixed martial arts. So, stepping back from MMA would be a wise choice, as Aldo doesn’t look like he has many fights left in him. But one thing is for certain, we can all look back and admire the career that Jose Aldo has had.



  • Brandon Hinkle
    23/02/2018 at 2:12 am

    This article seems like it was meant to being new fans up to speed on who Jose Aldo is. There’s nothing in that article that tells established fans anything we didnt already know. Kinda pointless really

  • Kieron Gollings
    22/02/2018 at 6:17 pm

    He got Conor McGregored

  • Kevin Campbell
    22/02/2018 at 12:17 pm

    Juice head

  • Jerry Gibbons
    22/02/2018 at 9:07 am

    Aldo’s career finished when his steroid taking did

  • Andrew Goodearl
    22/02/2018 at 5:40 am

    He’s a legend. He was the most feared man at 145 and never missed weight or ducked an opponent.

    He deserves nothing but respect.

    • Colton Zucco
      22/02/2018 at 2:56 pm

      Yeah right.

    • Colton Zucco
      22/02/2018 at 2:57 pm

      As soon as trouble came he punked out

    • Andrew Goodearl
      22/02/2018 at 3:38 pm

      Trouble? He fought Max twice and asked for a rematch against Conor. He let Conor get in his head and that’s why he was KOd so quick. I’m not saying he would have won (I think he would have lost) but the fight wouldn’t have ended so quick. Conor is a master at getting in people’s heads and taking them off their game plan.

    • Anthony Hynes
      22/02/2018 at 3:41 pm

      Andrew Goodearl you’lol have to excuse Colton, I think he’s Conor’s biggest nut hugger.

    • Andrew Goodearl
      22/02/2018 at 4:02 pm

      I guess Anthony Hynes

      To say Aldo is anything short of a legend is absurd.

  • Kevin Schwagg
    22/02/2018 at 3:29 am

    My friend saw him in Orlando earlier this month

  • Colton Zucco
    22/02/2018 at 2:16 am

    Conor killed killed his confidence plus he broke aldo mentally so bad he never bounced back. To all the Conor haters. The fastest UFC title knock out of all time. But still only his third fastest knock out. And the only man of my generation of sports to have that mental warfare so intense that it completely shuts people down. #notorious era.

  • Sonny Hill
    21/02/2018 at 11:17 pm

    Michael Furnell Josh Smith wheresss aldoooo

  • Bud McCurry
    21/02/2018 at 11:13 pm

    Usada happened?

  • Louie Lazaga
    21/02/2018 at 8:56 pm


  • Anthony Hynes
    21/02/2018 at 8:33 pm

    He was champ for 10 years then lost to Mcgregor who went on to win 155 belt and lost twice to max Holloway for 145 title, hardly a shit career or shit current run.

  • Joao Macedo Duarte
    21/02/2018 at 8:19 pm


  • Chris Waters
    21/02/2018 at 8:17 pm

    And then getting destroyed by Max Holloway

  • Alex Evans
    21/02/2018 at 7:28 pm

    It’s nothing to do with mcgregor usada is what happened not being able to use an IV to rehydrate has killed him also he has abandoned his kicks for some reason

  • Colin Lewis
    21/02/2018 at 7:08 pm

    He got kod in 13 seconds that’s what happened

  • Andrew Bell
    21/02/2018 at 7:08 pm

    getting bitch slapped in 13 seconds ruined him