Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo is still targeting UFC gold. Just not in the divisions one would expect.
As long as Max Holloway is the champion at 145 pounds, Aldo will likely not be receiving a title shot. There could be opportunities at lightweight, especially with Aldo regularly talking up a move to 155 pounds in the past.
However, the Brazilian is instead willing to go down and make the bantamweight limit so he gets a shot at Henry Cejudo’s belt:
“I sat down with everybody, did a study, and I think there’s a real possibility I can make 61kg [135 pounds],” Aldo told Combate (via MMA Fighting). “This is the new division I want to move to, and I’m asking for the title shot right away. That’s what matters for me now. Cejudo said he’s open to (fighting) anyone, so I’m open to that. I want the opportunity to fight against him and beat him.”
Despite his two losses to Holloway, Aldo remained a force at featherweight with commanding wins over Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano. However, he was recently outpointed by Alexander Volkanovski in a drab affair at UFC 237.
It makes sense for him to explore new divisions and a fight with Cejudo is one that particularly excites him:
“He’s an Olympic champion, a great athlete, and I respect his history a lot,” Aldo explained. “He deserves everything he’s winning, he has his merits. If the UFC thinks it’s a great fight, I think they’ll want that, it’s a huge challenge. He’s been talking after defeating (Marlon Moraes) that he was open to fighting big names. Since he’s open, it’s the green light.
“Nobody expected him to beat (Moraes) on the feet, you have to respect that. To me that’s great, it’s a good size for me, he has a fighting style that please me, that matches up well with my game. If it’s against him or not, I think about being adapted to the weight, fast and strong, which will be my differential in this division.”
It’s hard to see this happening, especially given Aldo’s struggles to make the featherweight limit.
Regardless, do you want to see that fight? Who wins?