Jose Aldo’s Return Is UFC Legend

The comeback kid.

Jose Aldo’s Return Is UFC Legend

Image: Getty

Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is back. Junior retired from mixed martial arts after losing to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 last 20 August 2022. But after three boxing fights, the 37-year-old Hall of Famer will return to the Octagon at UFC 301 on 4 May 2024, at the Farmassi Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Aldo is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time and is regarded by many as the GOAT of the featherweight division. Also known as Scarface, Aldo was the fourth and last WEC featherweight champion. When the WEC merged with the UFC in 2011, he was promoted to UFC featherweight champion.

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As the promotion’s inaugural 135-pound champ, the King of Rio made seven successful title defences before losing to Conor McGregor at UFC 194. He reclaimed the belt after McGregor vacated it but lost it again to Max Holloway during his first title defence. Aldo struggled in the latter part of his UFC career, forcing him to call it a career.

Junior then tried out his hand at professional boxing. He defeated Emmanuel Zambrano in an exhibition boxing match on 10 February 2023. In his pro debut, Aldo figured in a controversial split draw against former UFC opponent Jeremy Stephens on 1 April 2023. He picked up his first professional boxing win by scoring a unanimous decision win over Esteban Gabriel Espindola last 2 July 2023.

Image: Getty / ZUFFA

When Aldo retired from MMA, he still had one fight left in his UFC contract. In a recent interview, Jose said his return is likely a one-off thing as he just wants to fulfil his contractual obligation to the UFC.

“That’s basically what I told the UFC a couple of months ago: I want to do this fight, see where I’m at, see how I do, see how I perform and then I can make a decision,” Aldo said. “I’m looking at maybe a big boxing fight maybe somewhere down the line later this year. But we’ll revisit that with the UFC once this fight is done with Jonathan Martinez.

Facing Aldo will be the No. 13 ranked bantamweight Martinez. The Dragon brings a six-bout winning streak to this contest. Martinez has won two out of his last three fights by leg kick knockout, both earning him Performance of the Night honours.