Sources: Ex-champ Aldo unretiring for UFC 301

Jose Aldo, a UFC Hall of Famer and longtime former UFC featherweight champion, will come out of retirement and fight Jonathan Martinez in a bantamweight fight at UFC 301 on May 4 in Aldo’s native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sources confirmed with ESPN on Saturday.

Aldo, 37, retired from the UFC after a loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in August 2022. He transitioned to boxing, fighting in the ring three times, including one exhibition. His most high-profile boxing match came against former UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens at Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Boxing 4 in April 2023. Aldo and Stephens fought to a draw.

Despite his retirement, Aldo remained under contract with the UFC. Sources said he has one fight remaining on his deal.

Aldo (31-8) had won three straight and was closing in on a UFC bantamweight title shot before the loss to Dvalishvili. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last summer. Aldo has the most title defenses in UFC featherweight history (7); including his time in WEC, he has nine title defenses.

Martinez (19-4) has won six in a row. A Los Angeles native who trains out of Factory X in Colorado, he has two rare leg-kick TKOs in his past three fights. Martinez, 29, is 10-3 in the UFC since his debut in 2018.

News of Aldo’s return was first reported by Brazilian outlet AG Fight.

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