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10th Mar 2018

Jose Aldo’s preferred next opponent speaks volumes about his future plans

The offer has been accepted

Ben Kiely

Jose Aldo

Jose Aldo wants his belt back and he’s not as far away from it as people might think.

Think about it. Jose Aldo has only lost to two fighters in the UFC’s featherweight division.

Conor McGregor returning to reclaim the belt he never lost (or defended!) seems unlikely given how he looked on the scales making 153 lbs for the ‘Money Fight’. Returning to 145 lbs is a possibility for ‘the Notorious,’ but right now, the bigger paydays appear to be at 155 lbs and up.

The other guy Aldo lost to is the man currently in possession of the strap. Being finished twice in a row by Max Holloway means he was instantly thrown out of the title picture. However, he is only out of that discussion as long as ‘Blessed’ remains king.

If someone else usurped Holloway’s throne, Aldo would be one of, if not, the leading contender in the queue. Especially if he racks up another win or two in the meantime.

What now?

Brian Ortega secured his shot at Holloway after becoming the first man to finish Frankie Edgar. ‘T City’ is undefeated, has scored finishes in all seven of his UFC fights and has a penchant for proving the doubters wrong. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that he might dethrone Holloway.

If Ortega beats Holloway so definitively that an immediate rematch simply couldn’t happen, the next man in the rankings that he hasn’t faced, at the time of writing, is Aldo. So it’s no wonder that ‘Scarface’ wants to stick around at featherweight to see how things unfold.

We had been calling for Aldo to finally fight Anthony Pettis at lightweight, but ‘Showtime’ has been booked against Michael Chiesa at UFC 223. Instead, Aldo has streaking featherweight Jeremy Stephens in his sights.

Stephens is in the form of his life after dominating Gilbert Melendez to a unanimous decision victory before finishing Doo Ho Choi and Josh Emmet via knockout. He has propelled himself into the top five and a win over the consensus greatest featherweight ever would give him a serious case for a crack at the belt.

Both parties are in favour of the bout. Aldo revealed on Brazilian TV Show Combate News that he asked to fight ‘Lil Heathen’ who in turn requested the same fight.

It appears to be a matter of time before this gets booked.