Jose Aldo returns from retirement to face Jonathan Martinez at UFC 301 in Brazil

Jose Aldo will end his nearly two year long retirement to make his return to action at UFC 301 when he faces Jonathan Martinez in a bantamweight bout added to the upcoming card on May 4 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Source with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Saturday following an initial report from AG Fight, and Aldo himself confirmed the bout via his Instagram account.

It’s a stunning turn of events for Aldo, who called it a career back in 2022 when he suffered a loss to Merab Dvalishvili that ended his hopes for another title shot at 135 pounds. Following that fight, Aldo, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2023, transitioned into a boxing career where he’s competed twice in the past year including a battle with fellow UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens.

It’s not clear what led to Aldo’s decision to return to MMA but he’s back now with a fight schedule in May.

Under the UFC’s anti-doping program, Aldo should be required to undergo six months of drug testing before competing again but it appears that timeline will be waived to allow him to fight at UFC 301. Based on available online records, Aldo hasn’t been tested under the anti-doping program since 2022.

As for Martinez, the 29-year-old fighter is currently enjoying the best run of his career with six straight wins in the UFC including dominant performances over Adrian Yanez, Said Nurmagomedov and Cub Swanson in his most recent outings. Martinez has been making a steady climb up the bantamweight ranks and he’ll serve as quite an obstacle for Aldo, who will be competing for the first time since September 2022.

UFC 301 goes down May 4 with flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja also competing on the card when he defends his title against Steve Erceg.

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