UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo is on the shelf mending from a broken foot he suffered in his fourth round TKO of Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163 this August. Slated to return in early 2014, Aldo has the rest of the year to think about his next opponent.
There are many worthy contenders at Featherweight right now, but perhaps none more than Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson. Both are on impressive win streaks inside the Octagon. Aldo ranks these two above his former opponent, the No.1-ranked contender Chad Mendes. ‘Scarface’ spoke up to MMA Fighting to detail his clear-cut vision of the division:
"If I were Lamas, I wouldn’t fight anyone and just wait for my opportunity. He was supposed to fight me already but then (Anthony) Pettis got himself in the middle. Lamas should wait, this is his moment. But it they decide to do a rematch between Lamas and Swanson to see who fights me, that’s ok too. Chad Mendes is still starting, haven’t fought anyone ranked yet, only fought guys that are not that good. He’s coming off good wins, but he hasn’t beaten good guys. So I believe the next two should be Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson."
Lamas has been on a flawless run as of late, but he hasn’t fought since destroying Erik Koch in January. If he waits to fight Aldo, he could end up with well over a year-long layoff heading into his title shot. Still, there’s no guarantee of even getting another shot given the packed nature of the division right now.
And it got even more complicated earlier this week when No.3-ranked Frankie Edgar signed on to coach opposite a returning BJ Penn for a Featherweight bout. I thought Edgar could have cleared up some questions at the top of the rankings with a bout against either Mendes or Swanson, but perhaps those two streaking contenders should face off in the near future.
That’s a good fight to make, and really all of the top bouts at Featherweight are high-level affairs. It looks like Lamas is sticking to his guns to wait out Aldo’s return for a shot at gold. The coming months should reveal several exciting announcements for the division. Which fight are you looking forward to the most?
Outer Photo: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports