When news broke this week of Frankie Edgar stepping in to replace an injured Erik Koch at UFC 153, the MMA world was set ablaze. "The Answer's" highly anticipated featherweight debut now had a date and as the buzz rang out across the MMA landscape, no one was more excited about this turn of events than champion Jose Aldo.
Since claiming the gold in 2009, the Brazilian phenom has been one of the sport's most dominant champions. At every turn, he has sought out the biggest challenges available, and when the opportunity to face Edgar arose, there was no hesitation to seize it.
He will face the former lightweight champion when the UFC returns to Brazil next month, and Aldo is eager to welcome Edgar to the weight class.
"The UFC made me very happy giving me this fight right now," Aldo told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview. "It is a pleasure to fight with Edgar inside my country. I think this is going to be the fight of the year. It is a great opportunity to show everyone I'm the best. I will be looking to finish the fight at all times."
During his reign, Aldo has proven to be a difficult puzzle to solve. His unique blend of speed, power and accuracy have been a nightmare for the opposition. He's notched impressive victories over the likes of Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian and most recently, a brutal knockout of former No. 1 contender Chad Mendes at UFC 142.
While he appreciates the skills which have allowed Edgar to be successful at 155 pounds, he doesn't believe those advantages will be available when Edgar steps into the Octagon at UFC 153.
"I think Edgar will lose a little bit of his speed at 145 pounds," Aldo said. "At 155 pounds, his speed made a big difference for sure, but at 145 pounds I don't see any difference between him and the other fighters."
At 25 years old, Aldo has already placed himself firmly amongst the sport's best. He understands the pressures which come with being a champion in the UFC, but it is his personal level of expectation which motivates him to push further. Frankie Edgar is the next step on his journey, and he has no intention of seeing his reign as king come to an end.
"In my mind I'm always the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," Aldo said. "My fight with Edgar is a big challenge for me, but after him I will have another big challenger. For me, the next fight is always the biggest. Edgar is a great fighter but I'm the champion and still going to be the champion."