In 2015, former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has already been contemplating retirement. It was right before his highlight reel 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December of that said year.
Aldo ended up fighting on, and was even able to regain the 145-pound title. But according to his coach Andre Pederneieras, it was a phone call from UFC president Dana White that made the 31-year-old fighter decide to put his retirement plans on hold.
“He didn’t want to fight MMA anymore,” Pederneiras said while speaking to Brazilian journalists (via MMA Fighting). “With the negative from the UFC, ‘OK, he retired.’ The next day, Dana called me and said, ‘Andre, I’ll put on a title fight in his division.’ I told [Aldo] and he said, ‘No, no, not with my title.’ [laughs] I asked if he was crazy, went from Brazil to Las Vegas to do this? So he kept fighting. But I believe that after this three fights, he ends up retiring.”
Aldo recently defeated Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 30 via a menacing body shot knockout in the first round. But apparently, “Lil Heathen” was not the first choice that was presented to him as an opponent.
“They offered us Yair Rodriguez and it was a fight that didn’t interest us,” Pederneiras said. “He was coming off a loss, way below in the ranking. It’s not that we were afraid of Yair, but why am I fighting a guy [in that situation]? But when they offered someone better ranked, coming off a series of knockouts, close to a title shot, that’s worth it.”
Now down to the last three fights in his contract, Aldo says he wants a “big fight” at 155 pounds.