Jose Aldo currently is the UFC’s champion at 145lbs, having defending the featherweight belt five consecutive times in the UFC, and twice prior in the WEC. Understandably, he’s one of the top pound for pound fighters in all of MMA, and yet it’s quite apparent that he has the potential to do much more in the sport. Besides continuously defending the featherweight belt, a move up to the lightweight division seems imminent, and to me, makes the most sense at the moment.
For one, Aldo is 26 years old and it’s well known that he cuts a lot of weight to make the featherweight limit of 145lbs. He’s been fighting at the weight for quite some time but his body has definitely filled out over that time period. I think we all remember that video of him cutting weight for the Mark Hominick fight, back in 2011, which was over two years ago. It’s just one specific moment in time, but he’s encountered injury problems as well that have delayed or caused fights to be cancelled. Depleting the body so much to make weight probably doesn’t help that at all.
I even think that Aldo would be a better fighter at 155. It’s quite apparent in his fights in the last three years that he tries to exert as little energy as possible early on to save himself incase the fights head into the later rounds. Adding to that, when the fights do go to the later rounds, he seems to get noticeably fatigued. It just seems to me that the weight cut is taking away significantly from his performance.
When you think about it, what else really is there left for him at featherweight? Is a match-up with Ricardo Lamas that interesting? The champ has already beaten Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Chad Mendes, all current contenders in the division. If Aldo moved up, it’s an opportunity for the UFC to have somewhat of a name in Frankie Edgar get the belt again (It’s very arguable that he won at least one of the Benson Henderson fights. I thought he won the second one.) or try and build up a new champion in the form of another contender in the division.
Adding to everything aforementioned, the possibilities for him at 155 are very intriguing and open up a whole new can of worms. I’m a firm believer that Aldo is capable of beating top lightweights and is truly one of the greatest talents in the entire sport. A move to 155 brings up a number of variables, such as: How will cutting less weight affect his performance? If the gas tank problems lessen due to the weight cut, will we see an even more dynamic Aldo, one that will open up more? How will he handle bigger fighters? And so on. Again, who wouldn’t want to see him fight Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, etc.? It seems a lot more interesting to me than what’s currently on the table at featherweight.
I can’t say I know for sure about any of this. Only Jose Aldo and his team know. Based on what I’ve seen from his fights though, I think the potential for Aldo to be an even better fighter lies one weight class up.