Jose Aldo will step inside the octagon for the 13th time on Saturday night, when he faces fellow Brazilian Renato Moicano at UFC Fight Night 144 inside Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. 

This fight will be one of Aldo’s last, as he plans to retire in 2019. According to what Aldo has told Brazilian media, he has three fights left on his UFC contract, and he intends to complete his contract this year. Once his contract is completed, he says that he intends to walk away from MMA.

The UFC actually had plans to make Aldo vs. Moicano the main event of the night, but it turns out that Moicano’s team was the only side to agree to that. Aldo went on to say that it was actually his coach, Andre Pederneiras, who felt that a three-round bout would be better suited for Aldo rather than five rounds.

“The thing about three or five rounds, it was ‘Dede’ who thought it wouldn’t be good. You can ask him. He made the fight three rounds, he thought it would be better. To me, it doesn’t matter. Five, 10 rounds, however many they want, I’ll do it against Moicano or anyone else. I have no problem with that. I train for that, that’s what I do every day. I want to get there and always do my best. I never said otherwise,” Aldo said.

Aldo, who once owned an undefeated streak spanning 10 years, will look to turn back the clock once again on Saturday night. He is facing a younger, bigger and longer opponent in Moicano. As is the case now, Aldo will be playing the role of a grizzled veteran looking to stop the young guns dead in their tracks.

Moicano, who with a win would set himself up for a shot at the featherweight crown later in the year, has an enormous opportunity in front of him. A win over an icon like Aldo would propel him to elite status. In an interview with BJPENN.COM, Moicano praised Aldo, and clearly understands the opportunity that has arisen in front of him. “He (Aldo) has been in many, many wars in the UFC and beat the best guys in the featherweight division. So, to me, this fight means everything. After I get this win against him, for sure people will know me better. People will know me. This fight, I just have to win this fight.”

This could be the start of a beautiful end to an illustrious career for Aldo. It could also be the start of a bitter end. One thing is for certain,  Aldo will never back down from a fight, regardless of who the opponent is. There will be no home field advantage either. This will be a case of either Aldo restating his power, or Moicano pushing the old out of the door. The fight only being three rounds is an advantage for Aldo, one might think. Not having to go those extra 10 minutes could bode well for his explosiveness and volume. I would expect Moicano to push the pace at the start of the fight and try to get the fight to the ground.

We do not know what will be next for the former champion come 2020. A brutal knockout could very well put an end to his career on Saturday night. Professional Boxing has been talked about in the past as a potential pathway in the future, but for now, Aldo is worried about Moicano and Moicano only. “One step at a time,” he said. “We have this fight on Saturday, then two more this year.”

You’d imagine that all three of Aldo’s remaining fights will take place in Brazil, and this likely won’t be an issue given the UFC’s frequent trips to the country. UFC 237 takes place in Curitiba in early May and there will surely be at least one or two more opportunities for Aldo to fight in the later part of the year.

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Hunter Shelton

Journalism major at the University of Kentucky. Sharing my love of sports and writing with the world.