Cape Town - Arguably the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Jose Aldo is set to return to defend his UFC featherweight championship after over 400, (411 when he steps inside the octagon on December 12), days since his last fight.
Aldo was last in action against Chad Mendes at UFC 179 in a back and forth five round war according to Nick Strickland from the MMALatestNews.com.
Aldo won the contest by unanimous decision and extended his unbeaten UFC streak to 7.
Aldo was then booked in to face Conor McGregor at UFC 189 back in July, however after suffering a late rib had to pull himself from the fight which led to a stay of absence of over-a-year from the octagon.
So what has happened since he was last in action? Well, A LOT…
- Since his last outing on October 25 at UFC 179 there have been 45 shows in 12 different countries (Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, Sweden,Australia, Philippines, Germany, Poland, Japan, Canada, Brazil and South Korea. Attended by over 515,748 fans.
- Three seasons of The Ultimate Fighter reality show have been completed ( The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned, The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians and The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber)
- The UFC has seen six new champions (not including interim) crowned (heavyweight Werdum beating Velasquez, Light heavyweight Cormier beating Anthony Johnson for the vacant title, lightweight Dos Anjos beating Pettis, welterweight Lawler beating Hendricks, women’s bantamweight- Holm beating Rousey and women’s strawweight- Jedrzejczyk beating Esparza).
- His opponent, Conor McGregor has gone 2-0 inside the octagon beating Dennis Siver and Chad Mendes where he captured the interim featherweight title.
- The record-breaking deal between the UFC and Reebok was finally implemented as during fight week and in the cage ALL fighters and trainers/corners are kitted head-to-toe in Reebok clothing and footwear.
- USADA became the official third party anti-doping partner to the UFC. Implementing a random in and out of competition testing programme.
- Jon Jones was arrested and stripped of his title after he was involved in a hit and run incident. He was suspended by the UFC indefinitely and has since been reinstated and likely returning to fight early 2016
- Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock finally fought at Bellator 138. Slice KO’d Shamrock in the first round.
- Pride legend Fedor Emelianenko announced his return to the sport.
- Anderson Silva returned from a near career ending injury to beat the returning Nick Diaz. Both men tested positive for banned substances. Silva was suspended for a year, Diaz for 5-years (Ruling appealed, sentence likely to be reduced).
- WWE superstar CM Punk signed with the UFC.
- Long time Team Alpha Male member, TJ Dillashaw split from the team.
- Josh Koscheck, Josh Thompson and Phil Davis all left the UFC and were signed by Bellator.
- Frankie Perez, Mirko Cro Cop, Rich Franklin, Sam Stout, Soa Palalei, Cathal Pendred, Mark Munoz and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all officially retired from MMA.
- Tito Ortiz fought for the Bellator LHW title, losing via submission to champion Liam McGeary.
- Royce Gracie came out of retirement, was signed by Bellator and will fight Ken Shamrock in 2016.
Worth noting are some of the fighters who shared the UFC 179 card with Aldo have fought a combined 18 times in his absence, Chad Mendes- fought twice, Glover Teixeira- fought twice, Phil Davis – fought once in UFC, left UFC, signed with Bellator and won light heavyweight tournament, Neil Magny- fought 5 times, Fabio Maldonado- fought twice, Beneil Dariush- fought 3 times and Darren Elkins- fought twice.
Now with all the things that have transpired since the champion has been away, he is finally set to lock horns with his rival Conor McGregor. Aldo (25-1) is unbeaten in his last 10-years of fighting, dating back to November of 2006 where he lost via submission at Jungle Fight 5. His UFC 194 opponent Conor McGregor (18-2) is also unbeaten in his last 5 years of professional fighting dating back to his November 2010 loss also via submission at Cage Warriors 39. The fire burning between the two featherweight’s is as hot as ever just over a week away from the fight, the words will finally turn into actions.
UFC 194 takes place Saturday December 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Nevada and will be headlined by the featherweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champion Conor McGregor. The event will be co-headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Luke Rockhold.