Jose Aldo agreed to box on Paul vs. Tyson card before taking UFC 301 fight, interested in Manny Pacquiao match

RIO DE JANEIRO — Jose Aldo mentioned in late April that he was interested in being part of the Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson boxing card on July 20, and it turns out he was offered a bout on the show before booking his UFC return.

Aldo, who faces Jonathan Martinez in the final bout of his current contract at UFC 301, said at Wednesday’s media day that he was offered a spot on the boxing show, but ultimately settled on fighting this Saturday.

“It’s not a matter of wanting to [box],” Aldo said in Portuguese. “First, I gotta do this fight Saturday. I was offered [a match on the Paul vs. Tyson card], opponent and all. Before I was on the UFC Rio card, before [the UFC] even sent me a name and got anything done, it was agreed [to box]. Of course, I present the offer to the UFC and they have to authorize me to fight. But that was agreed already.”

Aldo has boxed three times since losing a decision to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in August 2022, winning a pair of decisions in Rio de Janeiro sandwiched between a majority draw against Jeremy Stephens. Since Aldo had one bout left in his UFC contract, he had to ask the MMA promotion for permission to box. The former UFC champion insisted that being free from that contractual obligation is not the reason why he agreed to face Martinez.

Aldo was victorious in three fights at bantamweight over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and Rob Font before his setback versus Dvalishvili. He chose to return against a prospect in Martinez to see where he’s at, competitively speaking.

“I’ve been training hard because that [boxing] match was already agreed,” Aldo said. “When we switched plans to fight in the UFC, all I did was change my training. It’s not like I was doing nothing, fat and retired in my farm, and then [said], ‘I want to fight again.’ No, I was already pushing hard.

“I can’t say literally everything [that went on] otherwise ‘Dede’ [manager and coach Andre Pederneiras] kills me,” Aldo added with a laugh.

The UFC Hall of Famer ruled out boxing social media influencers because “I’m a competitive guy and only want to fight the best,” and has one name in mind for a dream match.

“We were really close to facing Floyd [Mayweather], he also agreed to fight in Saudi Arabia, but I don’t know why it didn’t happen,” Aldo said. “But we’ve also been in talks for a long time to face Manny Pacquiao. To me, that would close my career, you know? I would be really happy [to face him] for the passion I have for boxing and the passion I have for him, watching him box. It would be great if that happens.”

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