Last August’s scheduled UFC 163 featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis fell apart when Pettis injured his knee rolling with UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis in training.
Aldo went on to successfully defend his belt against Chan Sung Jung at the event and suffered a broken foot in the process. He also dealt with a nasty case of kidney stones, but now “Junior” is back and ready to defend the belt. He’ll face off with Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event of this Saturday’s UFC 169.
In the meantime, Pettis miraculously healed up fast enough to face rival Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 164 on August 31, winning the belt with an impressive first round submission of “Smooth.” He was subsequently booked to defend the belt against Josh Thomson in the main event of UFC on FOX 9, but another knee injury forced him out.
And this time it was more serious, with Pettis tearing his PCL and requiring surgery. He’s currently on the shelf for around six months, hoping to return in July for the UFC’s traditional mid-summer event.
Despite a ton of things having to fall into place, UFC President Dana White spoke up on an episode of “FOX Sports Live” to declare that there’s still a possibility that Aldo and Pettis have their superfight, after all:
"I agree with you (Aldo's done everything at featherweight). It's tough for him to make that weight. And it wouldn't be a bad idea that when Pettis comes back, for him and Pettis to fight. We were going to do that fight once at Aldo's weight, it might not be a bad idea for him, should he win this weekend, to possibly move up."
There’s not much doubt that a lightweight title scrap between Aldo and Pettis would be a huge draw for the UFC. Routinely viewed as drained after making the cut to 145 pounds, Aldo has continuously teased the idea of moving up to lightweight. There’s not a better fight to do it for, provided he gets past Lamas this weekend.
If he does, he’ll own wins over the top five contenders in his division, despite featherweight being one of the most stacked landscapes in UFC right now. While one of those stars may one day rise high enough to beat him in a rematch, perhaps the time has come for “Junior” to look for new challenges.
If he beats Pettis, he’s going to put his name on the short list of fighters who can legitimately be called the greatest of all-time. With a 16-fight win streak heading into UFC 169, Jose Aldo has all the momentum in the world. Can he parlay that into a massive 155-pound showdown with “Showtime?"
Photo Credit: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports