Jose Aldo was the first man to hold the UFC featherweight title and one of the greatest fighters to ever emerge from Brazil. Last Sunday, on the day that his son, Jose Aldo III, was born, it was announced that the King of Rio had retired from the sport. And while it’s tough to whittle an epic career down to five spectacular fights, we gave it shot.
April 30, 2011 – W5 Mark Hominick
It looked like a typical dominant performance for UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo early in the UFC 129 co-main event Saturday night at Rogers Centre, but Ontario’s own Mark Hominick refused to go away, fighting off a series of facial bumps, bruises and cuts to finish strong and leave his own courageous effort as the lasting image of the 145-pound title fight, which was ultimately won clearly and unanimously by Aldo. Watch post-fight interview with Aldo
Scores were 48-45, 48-46, and 49-46 for Aldo, who improves to 19-1; Hominick, who is expecting his first child with his wife shortly, falls to 20-9. The bout was named fight of the night by Dana White at the post-fight press conference. Watch post-fight interview with Hominick
“I got to take my hat off to Mark Hominick, he’s a helluva fighter,” said Aldo. “He just went five round and gave it his all.”
After a quick touch of gloves, Hominick went at Aldo at the bell, with the champion’s first barrage making him back up to restart. Aldo kept pressing, scoring with punches and kicks, but Hominick took them well, even catching a kick and knocking Aldo off balance. With 3:15 left, Aldo switched things up with a takedown of his foe, but almost got caught in a submission until he quickly pulled away and bulled the challenger into the fence. Hominick struggled to get free, but Aldo wasn’t having it, as he delivered hard strikes from the top while still staying in positional control. Soon, Hominick’s face began getting marked up by the assault, but he benefitted from a restart by referee John McCarthy in the final minute. By the end of the round, Aldo had taken the bout back to the mat, capping off a solid opening frame.
Aldo opened the second with one of his blistering leg kicks, but Hominick took it well and began trying to work punches to the body. Two Aldo takedown attempts were tossed aside, and Hominick’s confidence seemed to be growing with each passing second as he began to tag the champion with his punches. Aldo’s response was a takedown two minutes in that immediately silenced the crowd, and if possible, they got even quieter after a couple of thudding shots. They got back into it after McCarthy restarted the bout with a minute left, but again, Aldo used a sharp 1-2 to set up another late round takedown.
The two featherweights battled it out on even terms while standing in the opening stages of round three, but as the stanza progressed, Aldo’s punches looked to be the harder shots. Hominick was far from done though, and his takedown defense started to aid his striking as he confidently put a jab in Aldo’s face. But just as suddenly, with nearly 90 seconds left, a right hand jarred Hominick and sent him shooting for a takedown. The Brazilian shot in for the finish, but the pride of Thamesford quickly recovered. Unfortunately, he was stuck on the bottom again, giving Aldo the superior positioning up until the end of the round.
After some solid two-way exchanges to start round four, Aldo struck paydirt with the right hand again, dropping Hominick to the canvas. A subsequent ground assault raised a nasty knot on his forehead, forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout and have the Octagonside physician look at the injury. Cleared to resume, Hominick got taken down before the bell, sealing another round for the champion.
The doctor returned in between rounds, thoroughly examining Hominick before allowing him back out for round five. The challenger still had a spring in his step, but the more aggressive he got, the most Aldo was able to tag him. Hominick got jarred by another right hand, but this time he was able to hit a takedown, allowing him the dominant top position. Now it was his turn to do damage with his strikes, and the crowd erupted. Aldo calmly kept his wits about him, but Hominick was piling up the points, punishing Aldo to the head and body, and letting the champion know that there was plenty of fight left in him. By the end of the fight, Aldo had survived, won the fight and retained his UFC crown, but the champion in Ontario still remained Mark Hominick.
February 2, 2013 – W5 Frankie Edgar
Following the win over Hominick, two more successful defenses against Kenny Florian and Chad Mendes followed. In short, it was business as usual for Aldo, but when matched up with former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in February of 2013, the Brazilian got pushed to the limit by the scrappy New Jersey native. Not that he needed to prove himself at this point, but if there were any doubts about his ability to win a back-and-forth dogfight, Aldo silenced them with his close, but unanimous, decision.
October 25, 2014 – W5 Chad Mendes
The first time Aldo met Chad Mendes in 2012, the bout ended by knockout in 4:59 and was best remembered for the champion running into the crowd after the fight to celebrate with his fans in Rio de Janeiro. The rematch was an entirely different story, with the top two 145-pounders in the world going toe-to-toe for much of the 25-minute bout. In what was perhaps the greatest featherweight title fight in history, Aldo got a well-deserved unanimous decision victory, but he had to dig deep to get it, proving once more that whether dominant or forced to show his championship heart, he was the best featherweight in the game.
July 28, 2018 – TKO1 Jeremy Stephens
Everyone knows what happened after Aldo’s second win over Mendes. It was the long lead-up to the meeting with Conor McGregor, and when they finally met in Las Vegas in December 2015, “The Notorious” one shocked the world with a 13-second knockout of Aldo. Aldo would rebound and take his title back with a second win over Frankie Edgar seven months later, but a pair of losses to Max Holloway had some wondering whether Aldo had seen better days in the Octagon. But in July of 2018, he turned back the clock with a stirring first-round stoppage of Jeremy Stephens that had him riding high once more. Aldo was back.
December 4, 2021 – W5 Rob Font
Aldo shocked fight fans in 2019 when he announced that he was moving to the bantamweight division, and after back-to-back defeats against Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan, they were convinced that it was time for the “King of Rio” to hang up the gloves. But the great ones always have one more run in them, and Aldo reeled off a three-fight winning streak at 135 that saw him defeat Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. The Font fight, which will ultimately go down as Aldo’s final victory, was his most impressive in the division, as he was in prime form for five hard rounds. An August 2022 loss to Merab Dvalishvili ended Aldo’s quest for another shot at the bantamweight crown, but that setback did nothing to touch the Brazilian’s Hall of Fame-worthy resume.