Right when the dust had barely settled on UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s record-extending sixth straight title defense at UFC 169, talk immediately shifted to “Junior’s” long-rumored move up to lightweight.
After all, Aldo had spent years appearing drained from the drastic weight cut he puts his body thorough to make the division’s 145-pound weight limit. That was the largest contributing factor to his tendency to fade later on in championship rounds.
Despite that the dominant Aldo earned a win over the last man he had to defeat in the UFC featherweight division’s Top Five. Aldo is on a run not likely to be duplicated anytime soon (except maybe by his Nova Uniao training partner and fellow UFC 169 victor Renan Barao).
At the UFC 169 post-fight press conference, Aldo was asked if he wanted to move up to lightweight to finally face 155-pound champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. “Junior’s” response (transcribed via MMA Junkie):
“It’s not only about me – it’s about Dana. I’m ready. I’ve always been ready. I want that fight. Everybody wants the fight. If the fight was tonight, I’d fight him. So it’s up to the UFC and Dana. I want the fight. Anthony Pettis wants the fight. So why not? We’re ready to fight, so let’s get this fight.”
Much of what does transpire will be up to White, but he sounded fully in support of the bout:
“I’ve been talking about that fight. I like that fight. I like Jose at 155. I think the weight cut’s much easier for him. But again, I’m going to throw it back at him. At the end of the day, he’s the king at ’45. If he wants to move to ’55, I think it’s a huge fight with Pettis. Yeah, it doesn’t suck.”
It sounds like White is on board, with Aldo is more than ready and willing to get in the cage with Pettis barring any possible medical delays, “Showtime” is apparently ready, as well. White said that he had already received a call from Pettis’ camp and that they were willing to accept the bout. The UFC president was understandably excited at the seemingly easy nature of the prospective superfight:
“Sounds like we’ve got a fight. That was easy. Glad we got that deal done. One more thing I don’t have to do on Monday. Let’s get another deal done.”
With Pettis still on the shelf after having surgery for a torn PCL, however, nothing is set in stone. Pettis is tentatively looking to return to action at the UFC's traditional Fourth of July weekend show, but that’s optimistic according to some doctors.
We can only wait and see when this huge title fight goes down, but at this point, it’s a no-brainer that simply has to get sorted out. With Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre on the sidelines, the UFC can use all the big-name fights it can get.
And this is a huge one. Hopefully we’ll see it go down this Fourth of July.
Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale for USA TODAY Sports