The tradition for the induction ceremony is to take place during International Fight Week in July. In the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 6, this year's UFC Hall of Fame ceremony will take place, and José Aldo will officially take his rightful place as a member of the Modern Wing. He was the first inductee announced for this powerful 2023 class with Anderson Silva, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, and more. Let's dive deeper into Aldo's legacy in his professional career.
Record: 31-8 (17 KO/TKO)
Age: 36 (09-09-1986)
Height: 5'7" (170.18cm)
Weight: 135lbs (61.23kg)
Reach: 70 inches (180cm)
Country: Manaus, State of Amazonas, Brazil
This Week: Getting Inducted into the Class of 2023 UFC Hall of Fame
Once Aldo was announced that he would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, UFC President Dana White had some enormous praise for the former great. "From WEC to UFC, Jose helped us build the sport of MMA and UFC as a brand, as well as change the perception of the smaller weight classes and what they could accomplish inside the Octagon."
"It will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer," White said. "Jose Aldo is the greatest featherweight of all time."
As we spotlight and re-live some of his greatest moments this week, let's go back in time and recall his legendary career.
In August of 2004, José Aldo made his professional MMA debut at the age of 17. He fought Mario Bigola and won his debut by a head-kick knockout in the first round. This was the beginning of a mixed martial artist known for his exceptional striking skills and explosive power. Aldo would win his first seven fights in his professional career before losing to Luciano Azevedo. This loss in 2005 sparked an incredible run like no one had seen before. Aldo won his next three fights and signed with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). This was the beginning of his creating his incredible legacy and the fame he received at WEC.
In 2008, Aldo made his WEC debut against Alexandre Franca Nogueira and quickly established himself as a Featherweight contender by winning in the second round via TKO. He would continue to take the promotion by storm and collect wins over Jonathan Brookins, Rolando Perez, and Chris Mickle. At this point, Aldo was 4-0 in the WEC, with all four wins via KO/TKO. With his vicious kicks and knees, he was establishing himself as one of the best strikers fans have ever seen.
Aldo was presented with a co-main event opportunity against one of the best Featherweights in the WEC and accepted. He fought Cub Swanson at WEC 41 and had the fans go into a frenzy with his eight-second knockout. Once Aldo touched gloves at the beginning of the round, he sprinted into a flying knee that was perfectly timed.
The win over Swanson got him his first title shot against Mike Brown at WEC 44. On November 18th, 2009, Aldo claimed his stake as the best Featherweight in the world. At 1:20 into the second round, he took Brown's back and unleashed a flurry of strikes that finished the fight. Aldo became the WEC Featherweight champion in 2009 and won several Fighter of the Year awards from verified MMA websites.
He would continue his dominant performances and defend his title against former champion Urijah Faber at WEC 48 via unanimous decision and Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51 via second-round knockout.
When the WEC merged with the UFC, Aldo became the inaugural UFC Featherweight Champion in November 2010. He defended his UFC Featherweight title several times, defeating tough opponents such as Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, and more. He became widely regarded as one of the most dominant champions in the division's history and known as one of the greatest fighters ever.
The first-round knockout of Mendes and impressive performances against Florian and others shot him into superstardom. Aldo was gaining more and more fans as the UFC continued to gain popularity. He had the whole country of Brazil behind him, and he was at his peak during this time. This set up a historic fight with the one and only Conor McGregor.
The UFC matched up the two biggest stars against each other as McGregor and Aldo were set to fight at UFC 189. Due to a rib injury, Aldo was forced to withdraw from the fight, leaving McGregor without an opponent. Chad Mendes took his place and fought McGregor at UFC 189 for the interim title, where McGregor had one of the best title performances ever.
The UFC scheduled the title unification fight between the two at UFC 194. It was marketed as one of the biggest fights in history. Ireland and Brazil were backing their fighters as the promotion for this fight was insane. Then the night was finally upon us when the famous knockout occurred.
McGregor knocked Aldo out 13 seconds into the first round, losing his first fight in over a decade. The new Featherweight champion shocked the world and left everyone in a frenzy at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Aldo's 15-fight-win streak came to an end in December of 2015.
Since the McGregor fight, he remained a prominent figure in the division, engaging in exciting battles and showcasing his skill set. Despite not winning as much as he used to, he bounced back at UFC 200 when he won the interim championship against Frankie Edgar. He would then have a title unification fight with Max Holloway at UFC 212, where Aldo got finished in the third round via TKO. The rematch would occur a few months later at UFC 218, and it was the same result. It felt like a passing of the torch type moment between the two in the Featherweight division.
After his fights with Holloway, Aldo remained a highly respected and beloved fighter within the MMA community. He continued to provide electric performances and fight with the very best. Aldo bounced back and got two consecutive wins against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Carneiro. It felt like he would make one last push for the Featherweight title until he fought Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237. Volkanovski would win via a unanimous decision, forcing Aldo to think about what is next for his career. It was only a short time to find out that he would move down in weight and fight at Bantamweight at UFC 245.
Aldo fought Marlon Moraes to a split decision where the judges gave Moraes the nod for the win. This didn't deter Aldo from fighting at 135 lbs, as everything seemed to be aligning great for him. Aldo was set to face Henry Cejudo at UFC 250 for the Bantamweight championship. Due to COVID-19 and the pandemic, there were visa issues, which caused Cejudo to fight Dominick Cruz for the belt. Once Cejudo won, he retired after the fight, leaving the title vacant.
This presented an opportunity for Aldo to fight Petr Yan for the vacant belt at UFC 251. Fans worldwide wanted to see Aldo win the title and have a resurgence. Unfortunately, Yan finished Aldo in the fifth round via TKO.
Although he fell short in his title bid against Yan, Aldo demonstrated his resilience and determination. He won three consecutive fights against Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font. This was the last push at a title for Aldo. He was coming off three-straight impressive wins at Bantamweight, nearly finishing Rob Font in his most recent.
This set up a fight with Bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278. There were rumors heading into the fight that this might be his last fight, depending on what happens. Nonetheless, Dvalishvili defeated Aldo via an unamorous decision. There was no formal announcement after the fight from Aldo, but many fight fans were wondering if that was the last we had seen of him in the octagon.
A month later, when his son was born, Aldo announced his retirement from MMA. Since his retirement, he was the first inductee into the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame class. Aldo has fought in a couple of professional boxing matches despite retiring from MMA.
Throughout his career, José Aldo has left an indelible mark on the sport of MMA. His explosiveness, technical proficiency, and championship reign have solidified his legacy as one of the greatest featherweights ever.