So much for doubting Jose Aldo: after Aldo’s performances against Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian, Aldo’s continued dominance at featherweight was starting to be questioned. Last night in Rio, Aldo turned a potentially bad situation into a spectacular KO of dangerous wrestler Chad Mendes.
With Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre inactive due to injury, Aldo is the currently the champion with the most consecutive title defences. With 5 title defences, he is tied with Tito Ortiz and Matt Hughes for 3rd, behind only Silva and GSP. It’s possible that the lull in performance was simply due to some difficult weight cuts. Aldo is a big 145er and a move to 155 has been discussed.
Because the 145 class is not as established as the classes from lightweight-heavyweight, it’s difficult to determine if Aldo has really ‘cleaned out the division’ in the same way someone like GSP or Anderson has. People who are going to be challenging for the belt end up losing to people that no one has heard of (see: Josh Grispi vs Dustin Poirier, Michihiro Omigawa’s UFC career, Mike Brown after losing the WEC championship, etc.). Hatsu Hioki was touted as the 2nd best featherweight, but in his UFC debut narrowly beat George Roop. Hioki is a few wins away from being a credible title contender.
Erik Koch and Poirier would present interesting challenges to Aldo, as they both have complete striking games. Aldo has relied on being able to outclass his opponents on the feet. Koch and Poirier don’t have the same holes standing up as Manny Gamburyan. Additionally, these 2 are long featherweights that cannot be leg kicked and jabbed to hell as easily. Fellow Brazilian Diego Nunes also poses an interesting challenge. If Nunes is back to being healthy, his kickboxing and positional ground game could be an antidote to Aldo’s power striking. If all else fails, Aldo can move up, or Frankie Edgar can move down for a superfight. Aldo is a big 145er and Edgar is a small 155er, so the size difference would not be too much.
Speaking of weights, Anthony Johnson was released from the UFC. Johnson is the guy who was fighting at 170, but missing weight often. Thus, he moved up to 185. Unfortunately, he missed weight for his fight last night by 11 pounds. Dana White was highly annoyed, and it didn’t help Johnson’s cause that he got choked out by Vitor Belfort last night. Johnson needs to work with Mike Dolce or someone similar. He’s a good fighter, and it sucks to see him miss chances to contend for a title because he can’t cut weight properly.