Aldo (27-4) has made it known he has three fights left on his UFC contract, and intends to fit them all into 2019. Once those three are done, the 32-year-old Brazilian says he will retire from mixed martial arts to pursue other interests.
For my money, Aldo is the most dominant featherweight this sport has ever witnessed (although Max Holloway is making a run at that title). On the heels of the two-time UFC champion’s recent announcement, here is a ranking of the top moments in his storied career.
No. 5: WEC 41; June 7, 2009. Defeats Cub Swanson via TKO at 0:08 of the first round
Eight seconds. This was the fight that earned Aldo a shot at the WEC title at just 23 years old. Aldo would go on to develop the reputation of a champion who didn’t always put his competition away — but early in his career, that was never the case. And this fight certainly highlighted his finishing prowess.
No. 4: UFC 129; April 30, 2011. Defeats Mark Hominick via decision.
Personally, Aldo ranks this as his No. 1 moment. At the time, UFC 129 shattered North American MMA records in gate and attendance. Aldo was featured in the co-main event, in his first UFC title defense. The hematoma he left on Hominick’s forehead remains one of the most infamous images in the sport’s history.
No. 3: UFC 156; Feb. 2, 2013. Defeats Frankie Edgar via decision.
This was one of the original “super fights” the UFC promoted. Those words were even on the official poster. Despite the fact Edgar was coming off two losses, his stock was high. He was coming off a controversial split decision to Benson Henderson in a lightweight title fight — and there were some who considered him the uncrowned champ. Aldo beat him four rounds to one, which elevated him into pound-for-pound royalty.
No. 2: WEC 48; April 24, 2010. Defeats Urijah Faber via decision.
Aldo won the WEC title by knocking out Matt Brown the fight before — but at the time, everyone knew you weren’t really the 145-pound king until you beat Faber. This was the first and only pay-per-view the WEC ever promoted. Aldo chewed up Faber’s legs with kicks, to the point it was difficult to watch. Faber shared photos of his battered legs on social media in the days afterward. This was the fight that really began the legend of Aldo’s leg kicks.
No. 1: UFC 142; Jan. 14, 2012. Defeats Chad Mendes via KO at 4:59 of the first round.
UFC 142 took place in Rio de Janeiro, at a time when the Brazilian market was a big focus of the UFC. It was only the third UFC event ever held in Brazil, and Aldo delivered a historic performance. With one second left in the opening round, Aldo peeled off a Mendes takedown and landed a picture-perfect knee for the knockout. Aldo proceeded to jump out of the Octagon and into the crowd, in what remains one of the most infamous fight celebrations in UFC history.