Jose Aldo ends MMA retirement to make comeback at UFC 301 against bantamweight contender on six-fight win streak

Jose Aldo is set to make a sensational return to MMA.

The former two-time featherweight champion walked away from the sport after suffering a unanimous decision defeat against Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in August 2022.

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Aldo is arguably the best featherweight fighter of all timeCredit: getty

‘Scarface’, who has since been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, subsequently transitioned to boxing and had three fights in the squared circle during 2023.

Aldo won an exhibition bout against Emmanuel Zambrano before fighting to a controversial draw with Jeremey Stephens, someone he knocked out during his legendary UFC run.

The 37-year-old capped off his brief boxing career with a unanimous decision win over Esteban Gabriel Espindola last July – now he’s set to return to the UFC.

On Saturday, Sao Paolo-based news agency AGFight announced that Aldo will take on Jonathan Martinez when Dana White’s promotion returns to Brazil on May 4 for UFC 301.

‘The Dragon’ is currently riding an impressive six-fight win streak in the UFC’s bantamweight division and has beaten Cub Swanson, Said Nurmagomedov and Adrian Yanez.

Martinez boasts a 19-4 record and has been in fine form since suffering a brutal knockout loss against English fighter Davey Grant in March 2021.

However, he’s never squared off anyone nearly as good as Aldo.

At his peak, Aldo went on a 10-year winning run that saw him dominate in the WEC before transitioning to the UFC and continuing to boss his opposition in the Octagon.

Aldo broke down in tears when he learned about his Hall of Fame induction

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Aldo broke down in tears when he learned about his Hall of Fame inductionCredit: Getty
Now he's coming back to test himself against Jonathan Martinez

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Now he’s coming back to test himself against Jonathan MartinezCredit: @martinez3jonathan – instagram

Aldo defended his featherweight belt by beating Chad Mendes, and Frankie Edgar to set up the biggest fight of his career against Conor McGregor.

Famously, that fight lasted just 13 seconds as he was knocked out by a left hook from McGregor, who has gone on to become the biggest star in MMA history.

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Aldo quickly won an interim title and was later promoted to the undisputed featherweight champion before Max Holloway stopped him in back-to-back fights.

After dropping down to bantamweight, Aldo beat a bunch of top contenders but fell short in his bid to become a two-weight champion when he fought Petr Yan in July 2020.  

Four years later, Aldo has not given up on his 135lb title dream.

A win over Martinez at UFC 301 will certainly put him back in the title mix, but he will need at least one more big victory before he’s considered as a potential opponent for bantamweight king Sean O’Malley.



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