From the sound of things, it seems former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo wishes to retire soon—but not before challenging for the bantamweight title once again. Paired up against Merab Dvalishvili for a crucial fight at UFC 278, the Brazilian hopes this outing makes him the number one contender with a win.
In an interview with Combate, Aldo explained how it has always been his dream to retire at 35, while holding a title. Now that now that he’s 34, he hopes to fulfill his goal before the time is up. However, the featherweight great feels confident that he will conquer the achievement.
“When we first started, I told Dede (Pederneiras, Aldo’s coach) that at 35 I’d be champion and I’d retire. That is why I say that I’m very close to retiring, though I used to say I’d retire as a champion. You can give me Merab Dvalishvili, he’s a really tough guy, well-ranked, that nobody wants to fight. I’ll beat him and then I’ll win the belt, it’s already written. Dede and I used to dream about being double champions at featherweight and lightweight, but that ended up being different. We dropped to bantamweight and we’re about to fight for the title in this division. I started out at bantamweight, I never thought I’d make that cut again. Now I’m ending my career at bantamweight, right where I started.”
Just one month away from his fight against Merab, Aldo shared some insights on what the training camp has been like so far. Although he didn’t reveal much, it seems that the main strategy for his training has revolved around being ready for his opponent’s high level wrestling.
“The camp has been great. We’ve done some adjustments that Dede thought were necessary. We’ve been mostly training the physical part, because we think there’ll be a lot of grappling in this fight. I always say that the best defense it to have an advantage over your opponent.”
Currently on a three-fight winning streak, Aldo (31-7) has defeated Rob Font, Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz in his most recent outings. The 34-year-old’s last loss took place in December 2020, when he got TKO’d by Petr Yan in a battle for the then-vacant bantamweight strap.
Aldo is expected to face Dvalishvili at UFC 278, on August 20, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a welterweight title fight between the champion, Kamaru Usman and challenger Leon Edwards.
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