Longtime former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s future in the notoriously brutal competition of MMA was thrown into upheaval when surging 25-year-old interim champ Max Holloway stopped him with a relentless third-round onslaught in the main event of last Saturday’s UFC 212 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The loss, which ranks as Aldo’s second knockout defeat in his last three fights, was a shocking one both for his legions of Brazilian faithful and the all-time legend himself, as he had only regained the interim belt from Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 last year, which eventually became the official belt when the UFC stripped Conor McGregor for not defending the title he won by knocking out “Junior” at UFC 194 in late 2015.
Many predicted a decision win for Aldo in what was supposed to be business as usual for the man who many still feel is the best 145-pound competitor of all-time, yet it was anything but that once Holloway found his footing towards the end of the second frame after Aldo won the majority of the opening two rounds. Aldo is only 30 years old, but the images of him bloodied and dejected prompted many fight fans, perhaps very prematurely, to call for Aldo’s retirement from fighting.
That’s going to be far from the case, however, as Aldo released a statement on his official Instagram account declaring that he would rise up from the loss and fight yet again:
“Fique contente em agir. Deixe a fala para os outros” – Baltasar Gracián Só tenho a agradecer ao Paizão Andre Pederneiras, à melhor equipe do mundo #novauniao pois se não fosse eles não seria o #ocampeãodopovo, a todos meus treinadores que fizeram o trabalho super bem feito e me deixaram pronto e a todo os fãs que sempre estão comigo, aqui fica meu carinho e o meu muito obrigado. Fico até sem palavras pra falar de todo o carinho que recebi e recebo até hoje, a cada palavras de carinho que me mandam. Obrigado. O resto foda-se pq vou voltar, pq caímos pra nos levantarmos!! Então é isso!! Vamos voltar!!
In the translation of his post via MMA Fighting, Aldo thanked his trainers and fans for their hard work and support, confirming that he would get up from loss and be back:
“Be content to act, and leave the talking to others” – Baltasar Gracian
I only have to thank my ‘dad’ Andre Pederneiras, the best team in the world, Nova Uniao, because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the people’s champion, and (thank) all my trainers, who did a super well done job and got me ready, and all my fans who are always with me, here’s my love and my thank you. I’m speechless with all the love I’ve received until today, and every word you send to me. Thank you.
The rest, fuck it, because I’ll come back, because we go down so we can get back up!! That’s it!! We’ll be back!!
After a tumultuous couple of years facing a new crop of featherweight challengers – namely McGregor and Holloway – that forced Aldo out of his comfort zone with their longer frames and finish-focused striking, the former champ could look to reinvent himself at lightweight as he’s teased for so many years. The less taxing weight cut could certainly help him perform more up to his talents as he gets older, but he would obviously have a size disadvantage.
He could also attempt to win back the UFC featherweight title yet again, something that wouldn’t be a surprise to see him attempt after he reigned over 145 pounds for so long. As many have also suggested, he may have to get back to his onetime bread-and-butter strategy of utilizing his feared leg kicks.
Where should Aldo go from here?