Directly after UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo picked apart Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169 to defeat the final Top Five-ranked challenger at 145 pounds, talk of his awaited super fight with UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis immediately heated up. Aldo said he was ready for the fight, and Pettis was quick to call Dana White and accept the bout at the UFC 169 post-fight press conference.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, as Aldo’s manager Andre Pederneiras came out and said he wanted the bout at a 150-pound catchweight so neither fighter had to relinquish his belt. Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts fired back with the statement that the bout would be at lightweight or they would seek another option for “Showtime.”

Pettis then appeared on “Inside MMA” to say he would fight Aldo at a catchweight, featherweight, or lightweight. But Pettis is still on the shelf recovering from surgery for a torn PCL. While he’s hoping to return for the UFC’s traditional Fourth of July weekend show on July 5, that could be a bit of an over-optimistic estimate.

Because of that, the UFC may be going a different direction altogether for Aldo. Ariel Helwani discussed the situation on last night’s “UFC Tonight,” detailing how Aldo’s long-rumored move up to 155 pounds may have to remain just a rumor for the time being:

“Right now it’s still up in the air, Brian. Anthony Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts told me that next week, he’s going to meet with his doctor to find out how he’s doing with his recovery. He wants to fight July 5. You remember on this very show, our own Dr. Klapper said that that might be a little too aggressive; well, he’ll find out if July 5 is possible.

Now, if he can’t come back that quickly, Dana white told me that they might have Jose Aldo fight someone else at 145, still defend his title. He wouldn’t say against who, he wouldn’t say if it’s Cub Swanson or Chad Mendes, but he did say that it’s still very much possible that Jose Aldo’s days of fighting as a featherweight are not over.”

And it’s a very distinct possibility, because Pettis’ high-flying, kicking style is absolutely paramount on his knee being one hundred percent if he has any chance at knocking off longtime king Aldo. The two champions were set to throw down in the main event of last August’s UFC 163 in Rio, but a lesser Pettis knee injury put that one in the scrap heap.

Now it appears that the next attempt to book this fight may be falling apart just as fast. There are just so many details and factors coming into play here that we may never see this fight come to fruition. However, with many of the UFC’s top PPV draws on the shelf and uncertain to return, this is a fight the UFC absolutely must make.

Will the promotion bypass all the red tape and finally give the fans what they want?

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