Ten years undefeated, the first and only UFC Featherweight division and the P4P king. Some would say the greatest career of any mixed martial artist, and that’s hard to argue with. Then it happened, December 12, 2015. A night that would go down in history for all the wrong reasons for Aldo Junior, one swift swing of a left hand and 10 years of blood sweat and tears out the window.
A fierce competitor nobody would blame Aldo for assuming his redemption shot at gold would be waiting for him upon his return. Any man not used to losing let alone being knocked out cold wouldn’t be blamed for taking some time to let the dust settle and to let his pride heal.
Here we are though, almost 11 months on. While the victor at UFC 194, a certain Conor Mcgregor off the back of two of the most successful PPVs in company history walks into arguably the biggest card in the history of MMA, José Aldo finds himself at loggerheads with the UFC brass. Contemplating retirement, one of the greatest MMA fighters of his generation feels disrespected by how he’s been treated.
It wasn’t always looking so glum, after McGregors shock loss to Diaz in March Aldo was told he would get his chance to reclaim gold and seek vengeance on McGregor at the grandest stage of all, UFC 205. Aldo buoyed by the chance seemed to seek out UFC bossman Dana White, who publicly said that the rematch with Aldo was the fight they were trying to get done. Low and behold, McGregor v Diaz 2 was announced. Aldo couldn’t do too much about that, the deals were done and he was given the Frankie Edgar fight, not that it was a bad match up, but the motivation factor of fighting a man for an Interim Title that you’ve already beaten must be difficult, especially when the champion you were expecting to be facing is matching up against a man two weights above you, not even acknowledging the belt he has.
Never mind though, both men would win their subsequent bouts and set up the rematch of all rematches, Dana White publicly came out and categorically told the media, the fans and Aldo that was the next match up. McGregor V Aldo 2, UFC 205 New York, and then…well you know what happened next.
So where does this leave Aldo Junior? Still expecting a rematch? Most of the MMA community (I myself included) don’t believe that fight will come round at 145 again, no reason other than how brutal the weight cut is for Conor. Retirement? I just don’t see a competitor like Aldo walking away from what he clearly loves, especially with great options on the table.
Options like the winner of Holloway v Pettis, which has just been scheduled for UFC 206. Either would be a great match up, Holloway being the hottest talent on the UFC roster and Pettis being a former 155 Champion. Then we also come to ‘That guy’ yes, Jeremy Stephens, if he goes out and puts the starch on Edgar, that propels him all the way to the top, and wouldn’t that just be a slobberknocker.
So thats my take, Is this retirement talk just leverage? Possibly, a shrewd move on his part if so but I’ve always taken José Aldo at face value, and can’t help to think that the UFC big boys have manipulated his name to too much of an extent for him to want to step in that octagon again. Time will tell, this time last year Aldo was on cloud nine, it’s a funny game this Mixed Martial Arts.