Childhood & Early Life
José Aldo da Silva Oliveira Junior was born on September 9, 1986 in Manaus, Brazil. He grew up in a poor household with his three siblings and his loving parents.
His father was a construction worker, whom the little Aldo started helping when he was only six years old. As a child, he was interested in playing football and had aspirations of playing the game professionally, which his father supported.
In his early years, he got beaten up on the streets many times, which prompted him to learn capoeira to defend himself in street fights. During this time, he got noticed by a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu trainer who offered him one jiu-jitsu session, following which he left capoeira to train in jiu-jitsu.
At the age of 17, he travelled to Rio de Janeiro with no money and only one set of clothing, with the aim of becoming a mixed martial artist. Coming from a poor family, he often spent days with little to no food, and ate when some of his teammates offered food realizing his situation.
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On August 10, 2004, a 17-year-old José Aldo made his professional MMA debut against Brazilian newcomer Mário Bigola at EcoFight 1 in Macapá, Brazil. He defeated his opponent by head kick knockout eighteen seconds into the first round.
In his second fight on October 23, 2004 for Shooto Brazil in São Paulo, he faced fellow countryman Hudson Rocha, whom he defeated via TKO doctor stoppage in the first round of the bout. He won his next match against MMA neophyte Luiz de Paula five months later on March 19, 2005 at Shooto Brazil 7 via arm-triangle choke submission at 1:54 of the first round.
His next fight against Aritano Silva Barbosa on May 12, 2005 at Rio MMA Challenge 1 ended in just twenty seconds into the first round following two soccer kicks that awarded him a knockout win. Within a couple months, he earned another victory via soccer kicks (submission) against Anderson Silverio at Meca World Vale Tudo 12 in Rio de Janeiro.
He then moved to Portsmouth, England to face Phil Harris on September 17, 2005 at UK-1: Fight Night and won the fight via TKO (doctor stoppage). In his next fight at FX3: Battle of Britain on October 15, 2005 in Reading, England, he defeated his opponent Micky Young 1:05 minutes into the first round by TKO (punches).
Back in Manaus, Brazil on November 26, 2005, he went into his next fight against respected Luta Livre black belt Luciano Azevedo at Jungle Fight 5 with a 7-0 win streak. Despite winning the first round, he lost to Azevedo in the second round via rear-naked choke submission, accepting the first loss in his professional career.
He had another tough fight in his next bout on May 20, 2006 against the then-undefeated Thiago "Minu" Meller at Gold Fighters Championship I, but managed to win via a majority decision. He earned unanimous decision victory in both of his next two fights against Fábio Mello at Top Fighting Championships 3 and Shoji Maruyama at Pancrase: 2007 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals.
On June 1, 2008, he started his World Extreme Cagefighting run with a win against renowned fighter Alexandre Franca Nogueira at WEC 34 in Sacramento, California. He earned his first ‘Knockout of the Night honor’ on January 25, 2009 against Rolando Perez at WEC 38 in San Diego, California.
José Aldo faced Cub Swanson in the WEC Featherweight title eliminator on June 7, 2009 and won by knockout only eight seconds into the fight. He defeated Mike Brown in the next fight November 18, 2009 at WEC 44 to win the WEC Featherweight Championship.
He won his final two WEC fights against Urijah Faber and Manvel Gamburyan in 2010, successfully defending his WEC Featherweight Championship title. After WEC merged with the Ultimate Fighting Championship On October 28, 2010, he became the inaugural UFC Featherweight Champion.
He fought his first UFC bout against Mark Hominick on April 30, 2011, at UFC 129, in which he won by a unanimous decision and earned ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. He defended his title in the next six matches till October 25, 2014, earning ‘Fight of the Night’ honors twice more.
On December 12, 2015, he faced Conor McGregor in a title unification match at UFC 194. After being knocked out only thirteen seconds into the fight, he lost his first professional fight in over ten years, as well as the UFC Featherweight Championship title.
He won his next fight for the interim UFC Featherweight Championship against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 by unanimous decision on July 9, 2016. He was later promoted to Featherweight Champion after Conor McGregor was stripped of the title following his UFC Lightweight Championship win.
In his last fight on June 3, 2017 in the main event at UFC 212, he faced interim featherweight champion Max Holloway. The bout resulted in his third career loss in 29 fights, even though he was able to earn his fourth ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus award.
Awards & Achievements
In his UFC career so far, José Aldo has won the UFC Featherweight Championship title twice and has earned four ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. During his WEC career, he won the WEC Featherweight Champion title once and was awarded ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors three times.
Sherdog named him ‘2009 Fighter of the Year’ and later inducted him into the ‘Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame’. His rematch with Chad Mendes on October 25, 2014 at UFC 179 received 'Fight of the Year' honor from World MMA Awards, ESPN, BloodyElbow.com and MMAJunkie.com, among others.