UFC News: Latest on Jose Aldo's Future, Gilbert Burns, Leon Edwards

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJuly 14, 2020

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 12: Jose Aldo of Brazil battles Petr Yan in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Jose Aldo is one of the most decorated featherweights in UFC history. And although he's endured some recent losses, the 33-year-old doesn't appear ready to hang it up just yet.

At UFC 251 on Saturday, the Brazilian took on Petr Yan, fighting for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship for the first time in his career.

He had some strong moments during the bout, particularly in the second and third rounds, but Yan put him away in the fifth round, using right-handed strikes to the back of his head and neck to notch a TKO victory three minutes, 24 seconds into the final round.

It was Aldo's third straight loss and his fifth in his last seven fights. But on Sunday, he indicated via Instagram that he's going to be back in the Octagon.

"People tend to carry the idea of ​​a perfect world and forget that losing a battle does not make you capable of humiliating, let alone discarding the other. Empathy is always putting yourself in the other’s shoes," he wrote (h/t Ryan Harkness of MMA Mania). "I will come back much stronger than I already am."

Aldo was the UFC's first featherweight champion following its merger with WEC. He defended the title successfully seven times upon joining UFC, and he's a three-time featherweight champion overall.

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Since June 2017, he has had five losses, but they've come against strong competition. He lost to Max Holloway twice, at UFC 212 and UFC 218, but he bounced back with TKO victories against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano.

During Aldo's current three-fight losing streak, he's lost to featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 237), Marlon Moraes (UFC 245) and Yan.

Aldo now owns a 28-7 professional record. And after Saturday's event, UFC President Dana White praised the veteran's performance against Yan at his postfight press conference.

"He looked great," White said. "He just fought the best guy, the guy who was lined up for the next title shot, and he looked damn good doing it. He can do whatever he wants."

It seems unlikely Aldo will be in the title picture in either the featherweight or bantamweight divisions in the near future, but perhaps he'll hit back with some strong wins to earn another shot down the line.


Burns, Edwards trade barbs on Twitter

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 30: Gilbert Burns of Brazil reacts after the conclusion of his welterweight fight against Tyron Woodley during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Leon Edwards had been offered the opportunity to challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship at UFC 251, but he turned it down as he's currently at his home in England and couldn't make it work.

Gilbert Burns was then scheduled to challenge Usman, but he was pulled from the fight six days before the event after testing positive for COVID-19.

Instead, Usman faced Jorge Masvidal and successfully defended his title, winning by unanimous decision with a dominant performance.

After the fight, White indicated during his postfight press conference that Usman's next challenger would be Burns, stating that it should be "a really, really good fight." But Edwards feels he's more deserving of the opportunity:

ESPN's Ariel Helwani suggested Edwards and Burns should fight, with the winner going on to challenge Usman for the title. But the Brazilian didn't like that idea, sharing the reasons he believes he's more deserving of the chance, which led to tweets back and forth between him and Edwards.

Edwards is 18-3 in his professional career and has eight consecutive wins. However, he hasn't had a fight since his victory over Rafael dos Anjos in July 2019. Burns is 19-3 and has six consecutive wins, with his last victory coming against Tyron Woodley in May.