Former UFC champion Jose Aldo, arguably the greatest featherweight in the history of mixed martial arts, will not retire in 2019 after all.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Monday that Aldo, 32, recently signed an exclusive contract extension with the UFC. Aldo's longtime coach and manager, Andre Pederneiras, confirmed to ESPN that Aldo signed an eight-fight contract prior to his bout against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237 in May.
The move is a major deviation from plans Aldo laid out earlier this year. The former 145-pound champion told multiple outlets in January that he intended to fight out the remainder of his UFC contract by the end of the year and possibly pursue a new career in boxing.
"I had already planned to stop when I was 30 years old and begin something else," Aldo told ESPN in January. "I'm at a point where I have to make a decision, and nothing is going to change my mind. Martial arts is always going to be a part of my life, but everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. And I see this coming to an end."
Aldo (28-5) has fought exclusively in the UFC since 2011, and he said multiple times that he would not consider continuing his MMA career in any promotion but the UFC. He held the featherweight championship from 2011 to 2015, successfully defending it seven times before surrendering it to Conor McGregor.
The Rio de Janeiro-based fighter is coming off a decision loss to Volkanovski in his last contest.