Shortly after Jose Aldo crushed Chad Mendes’ title hopes, (and face) at UFC 142 last weekend, fans started wondering whom the UFC could possibly put in front of its featherweight champion.
Aldo has taken out everyone that Zuffa has asked him to, and now there is a huge gap in talent between the champion and the challengers.
With guys like Dustin Poirier, Erik Koch, Hatsu Hioki and Chan Sung Jung all a win or two away from a shot at the title, many fans have started calling for Aldo to move up in weight and challenge a top contender at lightweight in a potential superfight.
The fighters on this list would all pose some interesting challenges for Aldo, as most would have a significant size advantage and a few might even be able to test Aldo’s ridiculous takedown defense.
This would probably end up being a harder fight for Guida than Aldo, but Guida is still anything but an easy fight for the featherweight champion.
If Aldo’s success at stuffing takedowns continued at 155 then a win is a mere formality for the 145 lb. king, but if Guida can get things to the mat it will get interesting.
“The Carpenter” would have less of a size advantage than most lightweights will against Aldo, but his ability to drag fights to the mat and turn them into ugly brawls would be something Aldo has never dealt with.
This fight would be almost too much fun to watch, as both men have the stand up skills that makes fans' mouths water.
Barboza has looked damn near unstoppable on the feet in his UFC career, and his win over Terry Etim last weekend showed that he has the ability to end a fight at anytime, which would force Aldo to respect his power.
However, Aldo has striking skills that may only be inferior to Anderson Silva’s, and his vicious leg kicks could cut the taller fighter down and make him a bit more manageable, and make it easier for Aldo to land some combinations.
The former lightweight title challenger recently helped Aldo train for his fight against Mendes, but if the UFC offered Maynard a chance to break back into the sport's elite against a current champion he would think long and hard about it.
Maynard is a brutal matchup for anyone if he sticks to a wrestling based game plan, and he would have a very good chance at dragging Aldo to the mat based on his size and strength alone.
But if Maynard decides to stand and trade like he has in his recent bouts, he’ll be a sitting duck and will likely end up another highlight on Aldo’s video package.
If there was a fighter in either the featherweight or lightweight division that Aldo may not be able to knockout, Diaz would certainly be the favorite.
The kid from Stockton has looked fantastic since dropping back down to lightweight in late 2011, and he is likely only one big win away from getting a chance to take on the lightweight champion.
Diaz is pretty one-dimensional in his fighting style, mostly only throwing punches and landing combinations, a strategy that works against most fighters, but not likely against Aldo.
The featherweight champion could easily kick the legs out from the younger Diaz and eventually score a TKO that way, but his cardio would be tested severely against Diaz’s furious pace.
If Aldo is going to move up to 155 permanently, this is the fight to make.
There is a logjam of contenders anyway, and no one has made a good enough case to take on the winner of the UFC 144 main event.
Both Edgar and Henderson would be the biggest tests of Aldo’s career, and both of them are dangerous for very different reasons.
Edgar might be the only fighter that Aldo can face that can match him in the speed department, and is both impossible to finish and impossible to wear out, both of which don’t work in Aldo’s favor.
Henderson has as good a chance as any to drag Aldo to the mat, and his relentless pace and control would likely make him the most dangerous opponent that Aldo can face.