Jose Aldo is less than two months removed from his second stoppage defeat in 18 months, but the great Brazilian is already talking about a possible return to the octagon.
Aldo dropped the UFC featherweight title when he was brutally bludgeoned to a third-round TKO defeat by streaking Hawaiian Max Holloway in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of last month. It’s been over eight years since the Nova Uniao fighter last competed in a non-title bout, but the Holloway setback knocked him down the 145-pound pecking order, all-but ensuring that his next outing won’t be a championship clash.
Aldo seems to have come to terms with that idea, however.
In an interview with Brazilian MMA media outlet AGFight, the 30-year-old former champion said that he expects his two-time former foe Frankie Edgar to get the first crack at Holloway, before laying out the plans for his own rebuilding process.
“[The next title challenger] is sure to be Edgar,” said Aldo, who is scheduled to compete in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament in Rio in a few days time. “The fight will be in November. I know Edgar will be the next challenger.”
“I’m not thinking about being the champion [in the short term],” he added. “I have to start again, with my head turned to the next athlete so I can fight for the belt again [later]. That’s what I have in my head.”
Aldo, who also dismissed the idea of making a move up to the tumultuous uncertainty of the lightweight division, said that he expects to begin the journey back towards title contention before the year is out.
“We are already in contact [with the UFC],” said the South American ‘Scarface’. “I have returned to training. I’m waiting for the time to fight again, but I can not say anything until it’s signed. I will fight at featherweight, there is no reason to rise to lightweight. It’s a stationary category, nobody knows what’s going to happen there.”
“[The opponent] is not up to me, it’s between Dedé [the nickname of Aldo’s coach Andre Pederneiras] and the UFC,” he added. “At the latest, I fight in December, but if I can fight earlier, in November.”
Between 2006 and 2014, Aldo won 18 straight fights. However, that remarkable run and his first reign as UFC featherweight champion came to a dramatic conclusion when he was knocked out in just 13 seconds by Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December of 2015. He rebounded with an impressive win over the aforementioned Frankie Edgar in July of the following year, claiming an interim featherweight title that was created when McGregor went on a weight-hopping odyssey for the ages. Aldo was subsequently promoted to champion again when McGregor was stripped of the title in late 2016, but Holloway made sure that Jose’s second reign a relatively short one.