Leading up to his UFC 278 fight against Merab Dvalishvili earlier this month, Jose Aldo said he was still competing to become a UFC champion, and if he couldn’t win the belt then there wouldn’t be much reason to continue fighting.
After Dvalishvili defeated Aldo via decision, the tough Georgian shared some words with the former Featherweight champ in the cage. According to “The Machine,” Aldo basically retired.
“When he was down and I shake his hand and tell him, ‘Thank you so much for the fight,’ and I go to respect him, he was down,” Dvalishvili recounted. 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.’ And then he said, ‘I guess I’m done.’”
Not so fast, according to Aldo’s long-time coach, Andre Pederneiras.
“They’ve made a mini-documentary about me and Aldo, about our relationship and shedding some light on the times he lost,” Pederneiras said in a new interview with Ag Fight (translation via Bloody Elbow). “He would turn to me and say ‘I’m going to stop. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ If you only knew how many times an athlete loses and says they don’t want anything to do with MMA anymore. After a couple of days, they’re right back at it. I haven’t heard that from just Aldo.
“This is what I always tell them,” Pederneiras continued. “‘Do what you want today, we’ll talk later.’ I’m sure nothing has changed. Unless he brings that up again in the coming weeks, which I don’t think he will. Sometimes it’s just anger. It’s normal to say things. I want to see the champions who are in this life and are able to remain in the top 5 like Aldo. Most guys in Aldo’s age, they retire after conquering what Aldo has conquered. Aldo is still winning. He’s top 2 or top 3 now.”
Aldo has had quite the career already. He’s been fighting for more than 18 years now, and spent six years as the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and then UFC Featherweight champion. Everyone doubted him when he announced plans to move down to bantamweight, but “Scarface” managed to string together a three fight win streak against top 135 pound competition before being out-grappled by Dvalishvili.
For now, Pederneiras is giving Aldo his space, but that won’t last long as he hopes to get his star pupil on UFC’s big Rio de Janeiro card on Jan. 21, 2022.
“We’re in August and the card is in January. That’s time enough to get ready. We have to talk to the UFC, see what they think. It’s a lot to consider.”
Even if Aldo is looking to hang up the gloves, we can only hope he’d prefer to do it in front of his home country of Brazil. While his fight against Dvalishvili was a legitimate contender’s bout and interesting in a strategic sort of way, it wasn’t the kind of memorable battle you’d want to end a legendary career on.