Off the back of his lacklustre unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) victory over former undisputed featherweight champion, Jose Aldo at UFC 278 on Saturday, Georgian grappling ace, Merab Dvalishvili has claimed the Brazilian confirmed to him that he would be retiring from professional mixed martial arts.
Dvalishvili, who turned in his seventh successive victory with his forgettable unanimous judging win over Manaus favorite, Aldo, entered the weekend’s main card matchup with the Brazilian as the #6 ranked contender at bantamweight.
Failing to secure any sort of takedowns against Aldo from over 12 attempts despite predicting at least three successful shots, Dvalishvili forced a rather gunshy Aldo to fight off the fence for the majority of their 15 minute matchup, en route to a unanimous decision win.
The loss snapped an impressive run of three consecutive wins for the #3 rated challenger, Aldo since December 2019 – after he defeated the trio of Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and at the end of last year, turned in an impressive unanimous decision win over Rob Font.
Merab Dvalishvili reveals Jose Aldo informed him would be retiring after UFC 278
Noting his intentions to defeat Dvalishvili and then challenge either Aljamain Sterling or T.J. Dillashaw for bantamweight gold in his native Brazil at UFC 283 in January before retiring – Jose Aldo, according to Dvalishvili, appears to have already decided to hang up his gloves following their Salt Lake City matchup last weekend.
“He (Jose Aldo) told me actually, when he was down (on the canvas after the fight), and then I go to shake his hand and thank him so much for the fight,” Merab Dvalishvili told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “And I go to respect him and he was down. And I try to help him, and he told me, he says, ‘This means this is my last fight – it was my last run to title.’ And then he says, ‘I guess I’m done.’”
Yet to address a potential retirement, Aldo a former undisputed UFC and WEC featherweight champion, released a statement following his disappointing loss to Dvalishvili on his official Instagram account.
“We are the story we write,” Jose Aldo posted. “Take care of very detail of your path, every step, every step or curve. Every difficulty and every achievement. He’s a better planner than you. You may even doubt him, but he will always believe in you. He put you in this world to shine. To be better every day. To smile and make people around you smile. What matters is what makes your heartbeat. Don’t accept a less amazing life than you deserve. Thank you for all the affection I receive along my walk, this is priceless. Who will be in the trenches by your side? – Does it matter? – More than the war itself.”