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Former UFC champion Aldo retires from MMA

Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has retired from mixed martial arts, the promotion announced Sunday.

Aldo had one fight left on his UFC deal, but the UFC has agreed to release him, opening up potential opportunities in boxing or other combat sports, his coach, Andre Pederneiras, told ESPN's Marc Raimondi.

The 36-year-old hinted he may be done with MMA in a postfight conversation with UFC 278 opponent Merab Dvalishvili, who won their fight via unanimous decision. The loss likely ended Aldo's pursuit of a second UFC title.

The Brazilian is widely considered to be one of the UFC's all-time greatest fighters.

He went undefeated from May 2006 to March 2015, which included seven UFC title defenses - tied for the fifth-best streak in promotion history - after he was promoted to 145-pound champion following a merger with World Extreme Cagefighting in 2010.

After Conor McGregor snapped his winning streak snapped, Aldo bounced back with a win over Frankie Edgar in an interim title fight. He was later promoted to undisputed champion after McGregor was stripped of the title.

But Aldo suffered back-to-back TKO losses to Max Holloway and a unanimous decision defeat to now-champion Alexander Volkanovski over his next five fights, forcing a drop down to 135 pounds in 2019.

While Aldo's move to bantamweight was met with skepticism due to his previous weight-cutting issues, he quickly proved his doubters wrong.

Although he suffered a controversial split decision loss to Marlon Moraes in his 135-pound debut and was beaten by Petr Yan in a fight for the vacant title, Aldo looked revitalized and had no issues making the bantamweight limit.

He rattled off three straight decision wins against Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font to get himself back into the title picture before falling to Dvalishvili.

Aldo ends his 18-year MMA career with a 31-8 record.

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