“MMA Fighting also confirmed that Aldo’s team negotiated a release from his UFC contract with one bout remaining, meaning that he is free to pursue an oft-discussed move to boxing or other combat sports opportunities,” the outlet wrote.
At the time of the former 145-pound king’s retirement, he was ranked No. 6 at bantamweight per the official UFC rankings. The 36-year-old combatant’s three-fight winning streak was snapped in his last outing when he dropped a unanimous decision to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in August.
Aldo’s professional mixed martial arts record sits at 31-8, boasting wins over the likes of Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian, Marlon Vera and Urijah Faber. “Junior” joined the UFC roster over a decade ago after the latter was absorbed by the UFC.
Aldo entered the promotion as WEC featherweight champion and was elevated to the inaugural UFC 145-pound king. He made his first title defense in 2011 at UFC 129 against Mark Hominick.
All in all, Junior fought 20 times inside the Octagon. His run would see him defend the featherweight belt seven times, as well as winning it a second time after dropping it to Conor McGregor in 2015. Aldo moved down to 135 pounds in 2019 where he went 3-3, which includes a losing effort to win the strap against Petr Yan in July 2020.
Aldo is highly regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time, as well as a shoo-in UFC Hall of Famer.
Dvalishvili Said Aldo Told Him He Was ‘Done’ After Losing the Fight
Dvalishvili spoke with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” after defeating Aldo after UFC 278. And he told the reporter that Aldo had said to him inside Octagon he was “done” after hearing Dvalishvili earn the judges’ nod.
“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 said (h/t MMA Fighting). “And then he said, ‘I guess I’m done.’
“It was a very emotional moment. 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 Recently Called Himself the Best Brazilian Fighter ‘In History’
Junior was recently interviewed on the “Cara a Tapa” YouTube channel, and during the nearly two-hour conversation, Aldo said he was the best Brazilian fighter “in history.”
“That´s easy, myself,” he said (h/t Sherdog). “I won the title twice, dropped my weight, and I could very well get an opportunity to fight for the title again. I respect everyone’s history, but I’m the best. I took on a new challenge, I lowered my [weight class], I lined up everyone, I did it for the title, I lost, I recovered again and I was doing well until I stumbled again. I’m the [best Brazilian] in history.”