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Before joining the boxing ranks in his late-30s, where he debuted with a victory over Alberto Emmanuel Zambrano via unanimous decision on Feb. 10, 2023, Jose Aldo emerged as one of the top featherweight fighters in UFC. That’s where he rose to prominence as one of the faces of his weight class, earning millions of dollars in the process.

Aldo stumbled over the last few years of his UFC tenure but remained one of the more experienced and in-demand fighters.

All the while, one frequently asked question has emerged: How did he get that scar on his face?

Jose Aldo’s face scar history

Beyond Jose Aldo’s success in the octagon, attention has often focused on how his upbringing shaped him into the athlete he became. Fans have often wondered about the story behind the large scar across his left cheek.

Aldo has said it came from an incident with his older sister, Josilene, who picked up his crib and threw it at her younger sister, Rosilene. As a result, Jose, then a 1-year-old, fell face-first into a lit barbecue. He’s had the scar ever since.

“They were playing around and threw me in there,” he said in 2009, per the Daily Star. “It was hot. I was a little baby. They were little kids. There was another time when my little sister broke my head. I have all kinds of stories.”

Jose Aldo’s MMA career

Jose Aldo grew up in Brazil, where he participated in enough street fights that he needed to build up a significant level of skill.

It didn’t take long for him to acquire it as he trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He made his MMA debut at age 17 and worked his way through the Brazilian ranks via World Extreme Cagefighting.

He won his first 15 matches, became the fourth WEC featherweight champion (and first UFC featherweight champion following the 2010 UFC-WEC merger), and successfully defended that title nine times. His first UFC loss saw him relinquish the belt to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December 2015.

He did recapture the featherweight title by beating Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision in his next match, but it was tough sledding after that.

Following the victory over Edgar, Aldo had a career record of 26-2 (the losses came to McGregor and to Luciano Azevedo at Jungle Fight 5 in November 2005). But he retired from MMA in favor of a boxing career following the birth of his son on Sept. 18, 2022, with a career record of 31-8.

Despite the disappointing finish to his MMA career, Aldo is widely recognized as one of the greatest featherweights in the sport’s history. And that recognition comes from far more than his scar.

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