José Aldo had been saying lately that his retirement was near. His plan was to win the bantamweight belt, move back up to featherweight and try to end his career as a double champion. The loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 last Saturday, however, derailed those plans and could bring forward the decision to quit.
Merab Dvalishvili (left) talks with José Aldo (right) inside the octagon after their fight at UFC 278 — Photo: Josh Hedges/Getty Images
At least, that’s what Dvalishvili himself said on Monday. In an interview with the podcast “The MMA Hour”, the Georgian fighter told what he talked to Aldo while still inside the Octagon, after the announcement of his victory over the Brazilian. And, according to him, the former featherweight champion confided in him that this would be his last fight.
– He told me when he was lying down and I went to greet him and thank him for the fight. I tried to help him up, and then he said, “That means it was my last fight, because this was my last title race,” and then he said, “I think it’s over for me.” There were very emotional moments (…) I said “You are incredible, you have nothing to prove, you are a legend, you are a king”. It’s hard to see that happen to one person. As a fighter, I know how difficult it is – said Dvalishvili.
The moment between the two came shortly after the announcement of the official decision of the side judges in favor of Dvalishvili. Disappointed, José Aldo lay down on the canvas, looking incredulous. Dvalishvili sat beside him, hugged him and talked to him. Even in clean audio, without the voice of the commentators over the top, it is difficult to hear and understand what the Brazilian is saying. You can hear Aldo say the word “last”, but the context seems to be “last title race”, not last fight. See in the video below:
José Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili talk after fight at UFC 278
O combat.com contacted José Aldo’s press office, who denied that there was a decision on the matter. On social media, a video has gone viral in which the Brazilian fighter appears crying and being comforted by his wife, Viviane, backstage.
José Aldo, 35, is a former WEC and UFC featherweight champion. He moved down to bantamweight in 2019 and was on a three-game winning streak before taking on Merab Dvalishvili last Saturday. In his career, he has 31 wins and eight losses.
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