José Aldo, long-reigning UFC featherweight champion, is Hall of Fame bound

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 20: Jose Aldo is seen on stage during a Q&A session prior to the UFC 283 weigh-in at Jeunesse Arena on January 20, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
José Aldo got the Hall of Fame call, the UFC announced Saturday. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It was clear from the moment when he announced his retirement on Sept. 18 that Jose Aldo would shortly be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. On Saturday, in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the main card of UFC 283, it was made official: Aldo became the first person chosen for the UFC’s Class of 2023 for its Hall of Fame.

Aldo held the WEC featherweight championship, was the first UFC featherweight champion and had two stints as champion in UFC. He also made a record seven defenses of his featherweight championship.

Aldo finished his MMA career with a loss at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was decisioned by Merab Dvalishvili.

He was 31-8 and not only was dominant at featherweight, but made a late-career title run at bantamweight. He challenged Petr Yan for the belt at UFC 251 on July 12, 2020, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. But Aldo came back and reeled off three consecutive victories before being defeated by Dvalishvili.

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His kicks were brutal to deal with and he had an impregnable takedown defense at his peak. UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier, now a UFC broadcaster after winning light heavyweight and heavyweight titles in his career, raved about Aldo to Yahoo Sports in September when Aldo announced his retirement.

“Jose Aldo was a tremendous champion and was one of the guys who evolved the sport of MMA,” Cormier said. “He was one of those guys that was ahead of his time when he was the champion. Even up until his last fight, I was always in awe of his greatness. He was that elite striker who you couldn’t take down. He was next level.”

Aldo defeated Urijah Faber at WEC 48 on April 24, 2010, using his kicks to take Faber’s legs away from him. Faber went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame himself. He, too, had nothing but great things to say to Yahoo Sports about Aldo at the time of Aldo’s retirement.

“I have always considered Jose Aldo as one of the best fighters pound-for-pound on the planet,” Faber said. “His physical gifts, well-rounded game and championship mentality made him one of a kind. I was lucky enough to compete against him for a world championship, share my gym with him in America and be a guest in his gym in Brazil. A genuine champion, and a great person outside of the cage!”