Former UFC lightweight champion Jose Aldo proved he's far from finished on Saturday by shaking off a three-fight losing skid to score a convincing victory over red-hot Marlon Vera.
Aldo (29-7) scored his first victory since moving down to 135 pounds by claiming a unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for the 34-year-old Brazilian legend.
"It's important to come back to the win column and important to win," Aldo said. "I trained really hard for this."
The victory soundly quieted talk that Aldo was no longer an elite after entering the fight having lost five of his last seven, including stoppage defeats in title fights against Max Holloway (twice) and Petr Yan.
Aldo turned back the clock in a sense by using hard leg strikes to control distance. But it was his boxing, including a steady focus of left hooks to the body, that helped him win the opening round.
After a fairly even Round 2, Aldo cemented the victory in the final round by scoring an early takedown and never letting go of Vera (16-7-1). Aldo took his back and hung on when Vera was standing and on the ground but proved unable to sink in a choke.
Asked about his future, Aldo couldn't help but mention former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, who returns in January from a two-year USADA suspension, as his preferred foe.
"As far as the next fight, it would be Dillashaw," Aldo said. "Hey, [UFC president] Dana [White], make it happen."
The loss for Vera comes fresh off the 28-year-old Ecuadorian's upset of Sean O'Malley at UFC 252 in August.