Despite his 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194, Jose Aldo was the only mixed martial artist to crack Forbes “30 Under 30” list for 2016.
“Even with his UFC 194 loss, Aldo would still make any comprehensive list of great UFC fighters,” Forbes wrote. He was the defending featherweight UFC champion and was ranked No. 1 in official UFC pound-for-pound rankings. He also went a decade without losing a match since 2005 and reigned as a world champion for six years.”
Prior to losing the featherweight strap to McGregor on Dec. 12, Aldo was the UFC’s only featherweight champion and had won 18 consecutive fights. The knockout loss to the Irishman was Aldo’s first Octagon appearance since October 2014.
“I have dreamed about a lot of things in my life. Being a champion in the fighting world, winning the belt and being No. 1 pound-for-pound in the UFC, and as any Brazilian, to play football in the Maracana stadium. Thank God, I've been able to make these dreams come true. But I've never even thought of being in a Forbes list,” Aldo wrote on Instagram. “This is why I'm so grateful and humbled for being selected as one of the most important people in the world under the age of 30.
“Being the only Brazilian on the list and [sharing] this honor with other top notch athletes, like Steph Curry and Russell Wilson, feels amazing. I'm so glad that my career and my life story has inspired people not only in Brazil but in the whole world. I thank you for the support and I'm sure this is a good omen, because 2016 will be a year of glory and happiness. Let's go!”
Aldo is the third athlete with the Las Vegas-based promotion to earn the “30 under 30” distinction, joining ex-light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (2015) and former bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey (2014). Neither Jones nor Rousey made the “30 Under 30” list this year.