One of the greatest fighters in the history of mixed marital arts (MMA) will call it a career at the end of 2019 (no, not that one), as former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion Jose Aldo says he storied career will come to an end at the conclusion of the year.
“Exactly,” Aldo said. “With the small black gloves, yes. This will be the last year,” he said during a recent media scrum in Brazil (via MMA Junkie). Confirming he only has three fights remaining on his current deal, “Junior” says leaving with his full health intact has always been the goal.
And if he has any say in the matter, his final fights will take place in Brazil.
“I want to close out my career in Brazil,” Aldo said. “That’s what we planned with ‘Dede.’ I intend to fight in, May, too, and then close it out in the second semester, because I know there will be another event in Brazil. And (the UFC) already knows that.”
While another title run likely isn’t in the cards, Aldo says he will still give it his all come fight night, and it would be in the best interest for his foes to take him serious.
“So there’s no reason to aim for a title fight. But, you can be sure, I’ll be a problem for anyone who gets in front of me. Because I will win these three fights, you can be sure.”
”I want to end it well, and I want to be healthy, as well. One thing I said in my last fight is that I want to stop tomorrow and not give my money to buy my heath back. Today I give my health to make money. So I don’t want to do that. I want to enjoy my daughter growing up, my family, my wife, to be able to travel, to be able to smile a little and play, without fighting until I’m 40,” he added.
After taking out Jeremy Stephens in his last outing, Aldo will look for back-to-back wins when he faces off against fellow countrymen Renato Moicano at UFC on ESPN+ 2, which is scheduled to go down on Feb. 2, 2019, inside Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Dana White recently revealed Aldo turned down the chance to headline the event, citing his preference to fight in a three-round bout. And while Aldo would be down to fight as many rounds as possible, “Junior” says it’s his training staff who felt it wasn't in his best interest given his retirement plans.
“(Pederneiras) is the one who closed the fight like this, with three rounds,” Aldo said in his native Portuguese. “He thought it was best. For me, it’s all the same, fighting five, 10, however many rounds are needed, I’ll fight. Against Moicano or anyone else. I have no problem there. I train for this. It’s what I do, every day. I train, and I always want to go in there and do my best.”
Head coach Andre Pederneiras confirmed the sentiment, saying it’s up to him to look from the outside in and decide whats better for his athlete, and had it been up to Aldo, he would've taken the headlining spot for five rounds.