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Tired Of Waiting For Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo Is Ready To Defend The Featherweight Crown
Longtime UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr. recently secured his sixth straight title defense with a five round decision win over Ricardo Lamas at February’s UFC 169.
The victory should have been a celebratory one for Aldo, who has maintained an aura of invincibility since taking the WEC featherweight crown from Mike Brown. However, it wasn’t exactly a smooth transition to his next bout, which is currently unknown.
UFC President Dana White blasted Aldo for playing it safe against Lamas, noting that Aldo can do anything, but tends to lay back and coast to victory.
Then, a highly publicized back-and-forth about Aldo’s long-rumored move up to lightweight in order to face champion Anthony Pettis followed. The bout was supposedly booked at the UFC 169 post-fight press conference, but after a few days, Aldo’s camp said they wanted the bout to be contested at a catchweight so no one had to give up their titles.
That essentially stopped the potential blockbuster in its tracks, and it was buried even further down the line when Pettis signed on to face Gilbert Melendez for the belt after the two square off as opposing coaches on TUF 20.
Speaking in Natal, Brazil, for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 38, Aldo told MMAJunkie.com that Pettis talks a big game, but rarely delivers in the end:
“Anthony Pettis talks a lot. He goes to the media and says that he’ll fight me in any division, but then he knows that (UFC President) Dana (White) is not going to have him move down a weight because they want me to give up my belt.
Also, I think he’s going to lose to Melendez, so then he’s going to have to move back a little bit, and our time to fight will have gone by. I wasn’t that surprised because the UFC had told me that Pettis would take a while to come back and that with his knee, we didn’t really know when he was going to fight. I was prepared for that possibility.”
Aldo and Pettis were of course scheduled to face off for the featherweight belt at last August’s UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro, but another Pettis knee injury forced him to pull out of the bout. “Showtime” then parlayed an unfortunate T.J. Grant concussion in to a title shot against former champ Benson Henderson at UFC 164, and the rest is history. But with Pettis still healing from surgery for a torn PCL and booked solid for the year, Aldo knows he has to move on at this point in time:
“Pettis likes to talk a lot, but he does very little. So for right now, the plan is for me to stay at 145 pounds and defend the belt because obviously Pettis is going to be on TUF.
It was between Cub and Chad, and I already knew that, but they scheduled the fight for Cub. But for me, it doesn’t matter. Both of them earned it. Chad made it back to the top, so he deserves it.
I’m already training, and I’m already thinking about the fight, so it’s up to my trainer, [Andre Pederneiras]. Whenever they decide to put on the fight, I’ll do it.”
It’s beginning to sound like Aldo and his team are growing weary of Pettis talking a big game and failing to sign on to fight, but to be fair, “Scarface” balked at the potential of vacating his long-held featherweight belt to fight for the 155-pound strap.
This fight has been nothing but talk and speculation, and it may never happen. From the look of things, it won’t. After so much teasing, is it time to put talk of this anticipated “super fight” to bed?
Photo: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports