The King of Rio Jose Aldo will reportedly return to UFC 301 in Brazil less than two years after retiring from the sport

Former WEC and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is reportedly coming out of retirement for the upcoming pay-per-view in his home country.

In mixed martial arts, retirements appear to rarely stick. And that looks set to be the case for one of the sport’s all-time legends in Aldo, who originally hung up his gloves following a decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili back in 2022.

That defeat brought a three-fight winning run to an end and left the Brazilian great out of the bantamweight title picture. Over a year and a half later, however, Aldo is seemingly gearing up to test himself against ranked competition at 135 pounds again.

Per a report from prominent Brazilian outlet Ag. Fight, a return for Aldo is in the works for the upcoming UFC 301 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, the 37-year-old is slated to make his comeback against the #14-ranked Jonathan Martinez.

Sportsnet’s Aaron Bronsteter previously teased a rumor regarding a notable co-main event being in the works for the May 4 event at the Janeusse Arena. And per the Canadian reporter, a clash of veterans between Aldo and Dominick Cruz was floating prior to the recent revelation.

Jose Aldo Tasked With Snapping Martinez’s 6-Fight Win Streak In UFC Return

If Jose Aldo is to taste victory inside the Octagon once again, the legendary former champ must hand Martinez his first defeat since 2021.

Jose Aldo (31-8), who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as part of the Modern Wing last summer, enjoyed a strong run after falling short of two-division title glory against Petr Yan in 2020. The Brazilian got the better of recent challenger Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font to move close to another shot at the bantamweight belt.

But after being outpointed in a lackluster affair opposite Dvalishvili at UFC 278, Aldo called time on his career before crossing over to the ring. In boxing, Aldo defeated Emmanuel Zambrano in an exhibition, fought to a draw against fellow MMA veteran Jeremy Stephens in his professional debut, and later got the better of Esteban Gabriel Espindola last July to move his pro record to 1-0-1.

While two of those outings in the squared circle came on home soil for Aldo, he hasn’t entered the Octagon in Brazil since UFC 237 in 2019, where he was defeated by then-future champ Alexander Volkanovski.

If “Junior” is to cover over the memory of that loss with an improved performance in Rio, he must stall the charge of 29-year-old Martinez (19-4). Since being brutally KO’d by Davey Grant three years ago, “The Dragon” has been on a charge, winning six straight to secure a number next to his name.

Having beaten two highly regarded names in Said Nurmagomedov and Adrian Yanez last year, Martinez will now have the chance to add a bonafide legend to his MMA résumé come UFC 301 on May 4.

Should this addition be made official, the fights currently expected to take place at UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro on May 4 are as follows:

  • Alexandre Pantoja (C) vs. Steve Erceg (flyweight championship) 
  • Jonathan Martinez vs. José Aldo (bantamweight)
  • Michel Pereira vs. Makhmud Muradov (middleweight)
  • Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino (light heavyweight)
  • Paul Craig vs. Caio Borralho (middleweight)
  • Joaquim Silva vs. Drakkar Klose (lightweight)
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Iasmin Lucindo (strawweight)
  • Joanderson Brito vs. Jack Shore (featherweight)
  • Elves Brener vs. Myktybek Orolbai (lightweight)
  • Jean Silva vs. Wiliam Gomis (featherweight)
  • Dione Barbosa vs. Ernesta Kareckaite (flyweight)
  • Alessandro Costa vs. Kevin Borjas (flyweight)
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