Jose Aldo has repeatedly said that he wants to leave MMA at the very top of the game, and although time is getting short for him to do so, the legend hasn’t abandoned that goal.
For months now, Aldo has said that he will retire from MMA after he’s done his current UFC deal (although the Brazilian star has said if the UFC allows him to box, he may continue to fight under MMA rules – but that seems unlikely…). So, after Aldo faces Alexander Volkanovski this Saturday at UFC 237, that will mean he has just one bout left. Has Aldo given up his hope to retire from the game holding a belt?
“First of all, I have to win on Saturday, I have to respect my opponent,” Aldo said. “I have multiple scenarios in my head. If I’m in the UFC, I’ll always pursue the belt. That’s what it was like in the WEC, it’s not any different in the UFC. I like to look at some champions as role models. I saw Georges St-Pierre quitting when he was in his prime. It was always a dream of mine to become a champion and then stop. Everything can change. First, we need to focus on the task at hand, win and then see if I’ll fight for the belt or do a super fight. One thing is for sure, I don’t see myself fighting for many more years, like other fighters. I’m preparing myself not to go down that path.”
It’s admirable to see that Aldo isn’t looking past Volkanovski, and he’s wise not to do so. But, even if the legend wins on Saturday, as it stands right now, his chances of fighting for the 145 title again seem really slim.
The reigning king, Max Holloway, holds two wins over Aldo, and since “Blessed” failed to take the interim lightweight title last month, the expectation is that he’ll defend the 145 belt next. If Volkanovski does lose to Aldo, then many believe Frankie Edgar will be tapped to fight Holloway.
But, as history shows us, MMA is a crazy, crazy sport. So, if Aldo does halt the rise of Volkanovski on Saturday, he’ll certainly be on the short list for title shots, provided Holloway’s not holding the belt.
Georges St-Pierre, as you likely know, returned to the UFC in 2017 and took the middleweight title from Michael Bisping. The Canadian, who vacated the welterweight title in 2013, never ended up fighting again.
UFC 237 will go down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.