Jose Aldo: UFC’s well-loved and respected star rides into the sunset with his legacy secured

Jose Aldo announced his retirement from the UFC after 18 years in MMA. During that time he established himself as the most feared featherweight in the world – a division he ruthlessly ruled for five years. As a rare, well loved and respected fighter among fans, Aldo will be greatly missed.

Few sports communities are as divided as MMA fans. Fiery debates erupt constantly online over who qualifies as the ‘Greatest of All Time’, who deserves to be higher in the pound-for-pound rankings or who is next in line for a title shot. However, on days like yesterday when a true legend of the sport hangs up his gloves, we see this often fragmented fan base coming together.

A consensus “featherweight goat” contender, Aldo will be remembered for his ferocious leg kicks, superb takedown defense, and a guts and determination you can only find in the finest elite athletes.

Perhaps most impressively, Aldo’s career wasn’t defined by his devastating KO loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 – arguably one of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport. The Brazilian could easily have faded from memory as the champion he was to instead become the “guy McGregor KO’d in 13 seconds”. Instead, Aldo fought back to win interim featherweight gold at UFC 200 before his coveted title was fully returned to him after the Irishman vacated the belt.

He didn’t find himself gatekeeper after his championship days ended, he kept himself competitive; He delivered two of the best fights the featherweight division has seen at UFC 212 and 218 for Max Holloway before facing off against Renato Moicano, current champion Alexander Volkanovski and Marlon Moraes.

Losses to Volkanovski and Moraes forced Aldo to reconsider his future in the division, with several other featherweights ahead of him to win the title. In almost all cases, fighters move up to their “more natural” weight when they change divisions, with very few successful examples of fighters going down a weight class.

As he had done throughout his career, Aldo took the harder route and faced Piotr Yan to fight for the bantamweight belt at UFC 251 from a fearsome Russian boxer, despite a brutal weight reduction and no prior experience at 135 pounds in the ufc Despite Yan’s sweeping victory, few could argue that Aldo looked out of place in a UFC title shot nearly three years after his last attempt at a championship. He was only beaten by the better fighter during the night.

Aldo was respected by fans and fighters alike

(Getty Images)

Some eyebrows were raised considering that Aldo seems a little too young to hang up the gloves at just 36, but he’s been battling for titles in the UFC and the caliber of opponents he’s faced since 2011 constantly faced, compels sin even more respect for man. His resume is as impressive as anyone in the UFC — with the possible exception of Jon Jones. Urija Faber, Alexandre Nogueira, Jonathan Brookins, Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian, Frankie Edgar – and these are just fights he fought before 2012!

Looking towards the end of his career, there was none of the spectacular fall from grace that we often see from aging fighters. Aldo simply decided he’d had enough. There was no patronizing “I think he should quit” from Dana White like we saw with Junior Dos Santos, or calls from fans to call it quits – and why would there be such a thing? It wasn’t until the end of last year that we saw Aldo defeat a very highly rated Rob Font. A true last-place contender that never failed to brave adversity and prevail with minimal discomfort and maximum entertainment value.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. There is concern among commentators and fans that Aldo will not receive a proper send-off; no chance to leave his gloves in the octagon and give Joe Rogan one last interview before walking out somewhere to a packed stadium to thunderous applause.

One can take comfort, however, in the fact that he will almost certainly be inducted into the Hall of Fame, where he can take his rightful place alongside the likes of Georges Saint-Pierre, Michael Bisping and Forrest Griffin. Jose Aldo: UFC’s well-loved and respected star rides into the sunset with his legacy secured

Fry Electronics Team

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