Dana White sounds like he’s entirely grateful for José Aldo and all he has done in mixed martial arts.
The former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion has decided to retire from MMA, ending an 18-year career earlier this week. Aldo had one fight left on his current UFC contract but reached a deal with the promotion to void it.
Following the news of his retirement, the UFC president showered Aldo with praise during his post-fight press conference at the Contender Series fight card this past Tuesday.
“We love him,” said White (video provided by MMA Fighting). “This will always be his house. I told him, ‘If you ever need anything here, if you ever want to go to an event, this is always your house.’ This is a guy that, from the WEC to the UFC, helped build the sport, the brand and Brazil for us. So we love him and we always will.
“He’s made a great life for himself down there, too, and and done some great things and made a lot of money, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family,” continued White.
Throughout his storied career, Aldo has had several iconic moments, but there is one that White is particularly fond of.
“I think the fight was in Rio when he jumped out of the Octagon and jumped into the crowd, and the crowd was carrying him around, and the place was going nuts,” said White. “It’s one of my favorite José Aldo moments.”
White is referring to the fight against Chad Mendes at UFC 142, where the Aldo successfully defended the UFC featherweight championship with a first-round KO. ‘Junior’ ran across and out of the Octagon, leaping into the arms of frenzied fans.
Aldo went on to defend his title four more times before losing it to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 nearly seven years ago. The Brazilian rebounded with a unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight championship, but failed to unify against Max Holloway.
He eventually moved from featherweight to bantamweight, where he went 3-3. Aldo fought for the final time at UFC 278, where he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili in August.
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