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UFC 237's Jose Aldo wants 2019 title shot, year-long sabbatical in 2020

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Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will return to action tomorrow night (Sat., May 11, 2019) at UFC 237 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he takes on surging contender Alexander Volkanovski in a crucial 145-pound matchup.

Aldo, 32, has been trying to regain momentum at the featherweight level since dropping three out of four title fights from 2015-2017. The Brazilian veteran has looked like his old self over his last two Octagon appearances — finishing both Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano via TKO — and looks primed for one more run at UFC gold.

The only potential hiccup is that Aldo has already hinted at potential retirement after the conclusion of 2019. While Aldo is sticking to his plan to walk away from MMA in 2020, he’s now hinting towards a possible comeback the year after.

“It will all depend on this year,” Aldo told MMA Junkie earlier this week. “I think I’m giving it my all this year so I can get the new title shot and who knows. I don’t know about 2020, because I want to take one year to not do anything. Like a sabbatical, so I can just enjoy life a bit and maybe return. So I don’t know about 2020, but 2021 it could be.”

Aldo has fought at least once every year since his professional debut back in 2004 so sitting on the sidelines would be a new feeling for the featherweight legend. But until he actually steps away from the fight game and takes his self-induced sabbatical, Aldo will continue to work with the same motivation he had when he made his Octagon debut eight years ago.

“It’s the same motivation,” Aldo said. “Every fight, for me, is the most important of all. Not necessarily because of the person I’m fighting, but because of my name, because of who I am and of my career. I always give it my all in training, regardless of who I’m fighting, whether it’s a quote-unquote easy fight or a difficult one. It doesn’t matter. My motivation is always high.

“Every time I’m in there, and the Jose Aldo name is in there, I have to fight the best way possible. To be in my best shape, and my technique. I don’t look at my opponent as much, but I look at myself and the responsibility I carry."

Should Aldo show up in prime form and end Volkanovski’s six-fight UFC win streak this weekend in Brazil it would only make sense for him to get one more crack at the 145-pound crown. Given his track record in the featherweight division, Aldo believes he needs just one more win to seal his fate.

“I think, until December, I’ll be fighting for a belt,” Aldo said. “After this one, with a win, I don’t think there’s another fight that isn’t for the title.”

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 237 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the ESPN+ PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.