We very well may have seen Jose Aldo compete for the last time inside the Octagon at UFC 278 this past weekend (Aug. 20, 2022) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Aldo’s resurgent three-fight win streak came to a halt on Saturday night after facing Georgian wrestling sensation, Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili, who picked up the unanimous decision win over the iconic former champion. After the fight, the two shared a moment in the Octagon on their knees, exchanging words before Aldo potentially departed for the final time in his 39-fight career.
“When he was down and I [went] to shake his hand and tell him, ‘Thank you so much for the fight,’ and I go to respect him, he was down, and I tried to help him, and he was telling me, he said, ‘That means this is my last fight, because it was my last run to title,’” Dvalishvili told The MMA Hour. “And then he said, ‘I guess I’m done.’
“It was a very emotional moment,” he added. “That’s why I was talking to him. I said, ‘You’re amazing, you did so much, you don’t have anything to prove, you’re a legend — you’re a king.’ I was a little bit heartbroken.”
Aldo, 35, has recently kicked around the idea of retirement, hoping to have defeated Dvalishvili before going on to capture one final UFC championship, riding off into the sunset. Now, the chances of the former Featherweight kingpin getting his second crack at Bantamweight gold all too soon seem like nothing more than a pipe dream.
Regardless of the moment shared with Dvalishvili, Aldo and his team have yet to share any confirmation on a final decision, reports Combate.
“It’s hard when you see somebody like this,” Dvalishvili said. “As a fighter, I know how hard [it is]. I never want to end my career. I always want to fight. I don’t see when I should retire. But when he realized he lost, he said, ‘That was my last run to title. I guess I’m done.’ That was hard.”
The win for Dvalishvili, 31, extended his win streak to a long eight in a row, solidifying him firmly atop the 135-pound weight class as a top contender.
For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.