(This post originally appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
Jose Aldo has repeatedly said that he still wants to reclaim the UFC’s featherweight title. But at the same time, the legend says his career is winding down. Could the former champ go out on top like he hopes?
Although it wasn’t too long ago really, when Aldo was talking about walking away from MMA, more recently, the Brazilian star’s insisted he wants to reclaim the 145 crown. As he gets set to fight Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 30 this Saturday, Aldo has repeated that desire. But, the 31 year-old has also said he doesn’t plan to extend his fighting career, after his current contract is done (quotes via MMA Fighting):
”No, I don’t think so,” Aldo said. “It doesn’t cross my mind to sign a new contract after.”
”I think it’s easier because you know it’s coming near the end, so you have to give your all because you don’t want to go out on a loss, you want to go out on top…
”When you’re starting there’s that euphoria, but I remain the same. I dream of being champion and dream going out as champion. That’s my biggest motivation. … I take much pride in winning, I don’t accept losses, so I’m always going after that. The day I lose this fire, I think it’s time for us to stop.”
So, when you consider Aldo has talked about retiring before, or transitioning into pro-boxing, the fact he’s not interested in a new deal shouldn’t be a surprise. Further, Aldo talked about the fact that he wants to retire healthy, and while he is only 31, he’s been fighting for nearly 15 years.
But, could Aldo walk away from the game as the reigning UFC champ? That’s going to be tough.
After Aldo faces Stephens this weekend he’ll have three bouts left on his current deal. If Aldo scores an emphatic victory, he’ll definitely remain in the title shot mix, and another top contender will almost certainly be next. If Aldo wins that fight, a title shot could materialize, provided Holloway is not holding the belt. After all, the Hawaiian champ has already defeated Aldo twice.
Now, if Holloway does elect to leave 145 behind and does so in the short term future(and Aldo defeats Stephens), however, things could get interesting for the Brazilian. Aldo might even be booked for a championship bout with Brian Ortega in that situation. As UFC on FOX 30 approaches, Aldo is ranked #2 and Ortega is #1.
But, lots of pieces need to fall into place before Aldo can get another shot at the belt. If Holloway does return to the cage in the not too distant future, and say, defends the belt against Ortega, Aldo’s window to reclaim the title will close that much more. Or, if Ortega wins the belt, Aldo would need to defeat a guy who has never lost, in order to get back the belt.
So, at this juncture, it’s not looking good, as far as Aldo’s aforementioned dream. But, if the vaunted fighter goes out and cruises through Stephens, there’s going to be a lot talk on Sunday as to whether Aldo’s ‘back’.