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Former longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo, 36, retires from UFC after ‘legendary run’

One of MMA’s all-time greats is calling it a career.

Former longtime UFC and WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, 36, has retired from the UFC, his team told ESPN on Sunday.

The promotion also announced Aldo’s retirement in a tweet Sunday evening that read in part, “Congratulations @JoseAldoJunior on a legendary run.”

Aldo requested and was granted a release from his UFC contract, his coach and manager, Andre Pederneiras, told ESPN. The UFC has yet to comment on Aldo’s contract status.

Aldo’s retirement alone would not get him out of his UFC contract, which would be frozen in that instance.

The legendary fighter has been removed from the UFC’s external official rankings, signifying he is no longer on the active roster. Provided he was released from his contract, he would be free to compete for other promotions or in other combat sports like boxing, which he has always expressed an interest in.

Aldo (31-8) is arguably one of the top five fighters ever in mixed martial arts and easily within the top 10. He has the best résumé at 145 pounds in MMA history. The Brazilian striker held the UFC/WEC featherweight title from November 2009 to December 2015, accumulating a division-record nine title defenses.

Aldo won 18 consecutive fights from 2006 to 2014, including triumphs over fellow luminaries like Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar. He also owns career wins over Marlon Vera, Chad Mendes (twice), Kenny Florian, Cub Swanson and Mike Brown.

After a stunning, 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in 2015, Aldo rebuilt his career, winning the featherweight title for a second time and then dropping down to bantamweight in 2019 and challenging for the belt there. Before a loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 last month, Aldo was on a three-fight winning streak and closing in on another title shot.

Aldo will cap his UFC career with a 21-7 record between that promotion and WEC, which was purchased and absorbed into the UFC in 2011.

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