UFC legend José Aldo is retiring from mixed martial arts and has received his release from the promotion.
Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting reported Aldo will be free to explore a career in boxing or other combat sports. He had one fight left on his contract with UFC before negotiating the release.
The 36-year-old made his professional debut in 2004 and has fought at least once in every year since. He's compiled a 31-8 overall record, with his last 20 fights coming in the UFC.
One of the most dominant fighters of his era, Aldo was the inaugural UFC featherweight champion and made seven successful title defenses before losing to Conor McGregor in 2015. He regained the featherweight championship the following July after it was vacated by McGregor but lost it in his next bout against Max Holloway.
The loss to Holloway started a string of five defeats in seven fights for Aldo, who moved to bantamweight in 2019. A loss to Petr Yan at UFC 251 seemed like it may be the beginning of the end, but Aldo rebounded with three straight wins before losing what will be his final UFC fight against Merab Dvalishvili in August.
“When he was down and I shake his hand and tell him, ‘Thank you so much for the fight,’ and I go to respect him, he was down,” Dvalishvili said after the fight. "And I tried to help him, and he was telling me, he said, ‘That means this is my last fight, because it was my last run to title.’ And then he said, ‘I guess I’m done.’”
Aldo has been linked to pursuing a professional boxing career and may ultimately choose that path after retiring from MMA. He has never boxed professionally.