Jose Aldo, one of the greatest champions in mixed martial arts history, plans to retire in 2019.
Aldo (27-4) is scheduled to face Renato Moicano (13-1-1) on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night in Fortaleza, Brazil. The event will air on ESPN+.
Earlier this month, Aldo told multiple Brazilian news outlets he has three fights left on his UFC contract and intends to fight them out this year. The 32-year-old reiterated that stance to ESPN on Wednesday and said he will walk away from MMA once his contract is fulfilled. "I'm not saying this to try and negotiate a new contract," Aldo said through a translator. "I'm not trying to push anything. I mean exactly what I say.
"I had already planned to stop when I was 30 years old and begin something else. 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 is so committed to his plan that he says he would actually turn down an opportunity to fight for the UFC title if it were offered to him. As much as he would like to retire a champion, Aldo's contract would automatically extend if he were to win a title.
"I believe there is a clause in which, if I were a champion, there's an automatic renewal," Aldo said. "There are other things I would like to do outside MMA."
Aldo's plan consists of Saturday's fight in Fortaleza, followed by an appearance at UFC 237 on May 11 in Curitiba, Brazil. His third and final fight would take place sometime in the second half of the year in Brazil.
In recent years, Aldo has been frustrated with the UFC for a variety of reasons, including the promotion's inability to book him a rematch against Conor McGregor, following a 13-second knockout loss to the Irish star in 2015. Aldo said his relationship with the UFC has nothing to do with his desire to retire, however.
"Nothing has really changed in that relationship," Aldo said. "Obviously, I was really frustrated because I was champion for a long time and I thought I deserved a rematch, but I had to understand this is a business. And I'm an employee."
A two-time featherweight champion, Aldo has previously expressed interest in professional boxing. Last year, his coach Andre Pederneiras said Aldo wanted to end his exclusive contract with the UFC so that he would be free to box.
When asked if he could guarantee a professional boxing debut in 2020, Aldo laughed.
"One step at a time," he said. "We have this fight on Saturday, then two more this year. After that, we'll sit down with [Pederneiras] and see what the options are."