Jose Aldo has been a dominant UFC featherweight champion with five successful defenses to his credit inside the Octagon. The champ seems to be at a stage where he’s running out of fresh options, as he has already fought two of the three most recommended opponents.
However, there is the potential of a superfight to be made against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Aldo and Pettis were originally set to meet for the 145-pound title at UFC 163 but Pettis withdrew due to an injury. He was quick to call out Aldo after winning the lightweight strap at UFC 164 against Benson Henderson.
While Aldo wants the Pettis matchup, “Showtime” has some business to attend to, as he will make his first title defense at UFC on Fox 9 in December against Josh Thomson. So if Pettis is pushed to the background when time comes for Aldo to fight his next opponent, let’s try and sort out who would be the best option for Aldo to make his sixth title fight against next.
The standout Brazilian has already indicated he’s not keen on a rematch with Chad Mendes just yet. Mendes has been on a roll since losing to Aldo at UFC 142 via a first-round stoppage. The Team Alpha Male member has won four straight fights by knockout including becoming the only man to stop Clay Guida via strikes. Aldo believes Mendes needs to do more to get another chance.
Aldo, who is recovering from a broken foot after successfully defending his title against Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163, believes either Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson are more deserving of the next title opportunity. Aldo and Swanson met before back in their WEC days with Aldo finishing the fight in electrifying fashion just eight seconds into the first round. The fight was over as quickly as it began after a perfectly placed double flying knee at WEC 41.
Lamas has certainly disappeared from the public eye as he’s simply playing a waiting game after he was pulled from UFC 162 after his scheduled opponent Jung was shifted to UFC 163 as an injury replacement. Lamas and Swanson are both on impressive winning streaks.
The key factor to me that plays in “The Bully’s” favor is that Lamas defeated Swanson via a second-round submission in their fight at UFC on Fox 1 earning a Submission of the Night honor. He’s also defeated Matt Grice, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch in going 4-and-0 in the UFC since making the move to the 145-pound division. Lamas has been dominant in securing three of those four victories by either knockout or submission.
With Mendes locked into a battle against Nik Lentz at the UFC on Fox 9 card in December, it would seem to leave a couple of scenarios. Either have Lamas and Swanson rematch to determine the next title challenger or just give Lamas the title shot that he is rightfully deserving of. After all, he has defeated Swanson and unlike Mendes and Swanson he has never faced Aldo before. That’s why in sorting through the triangle of worthy contenders, I believe Aldo against Lamas makes the most sense for the UFC’s next featherweight title fight.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports