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White: Aldo vs. Moicano co-maining UFC Fortaleza, because Jose ‘didn’t want to fight five rounds’

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Why is Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes headlining UFC Fortaleza over longtime former featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s fight against Renato Moicano? Apparently Aldo isn’t interested in a 5-round bout.

UFC Fight Night: Alvarez v Poirier 2 Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

To hear Dana White tell it, Jose Aldo is getting exactly what he wants. The former UFC featherweight champion – considered by many to be the greatest 145er in UFC history – returns to the Octagon on February 2nd in Fortaleza, Brazil. There he’ll be taking on rising top contender Renato Moicano in a bout that could see Moicano in a title fight off a win.

However, despite Aldo’s long history of success and the potential high stakes of the contest, this will be the second straight card where the longtime Nova Uniao product won’t be fighting in the main event. A placement that is apparently entirely the product of his own request (transcript via MMAjunkie).

“I agree 100 percent.” White responded to the assembled media after UFC 232, when it was suggested to him that Aldo/Moicano should headline over the Assuncao vs. Moraes rematch. “(Aldo) wanted to be the co-main event. He didn’t want to fight five rounds – he wanted three. … That should be the main event, five rounds – that should be the fight. But he said, ‘I want a three-round fight,’ and you don’t say no to Jose Aldo.”

The 32-year-old longtime Zuffa veteran’s UFC career has been marked by a number of injuries, including his back, ribs, foot, and shoulder. And while he has fought consistently over the past several years, his recent set of title fights against Max Holloway – in which he lost and failed to regain his championship belt – were both marked by Aldo’s cardio flagging notably as the bouts got into the 3rd round.

For much of Aldo’s UFC career, as well, his difficult weight cut to 145 lbs has been a point of comment. Resulting in regular speculation that he might find himself moving up to lightweight, especially as his featherweight title hopes seem less and less realistic. Whatever the reasoning behind the decision, for now it seems the solution is going to be staying away from championship rounds — at least that’s if Dana White is to be believed.