In one of the most anticipated championship matches of the year, Jose Aldo retained the UFC featherweight title in a bout with Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 156.
Aldo got off to a great start in the opening two rounds firing off his signature leg kicks and consistently getting the better of Edgar in the stand-up department. Rounds 3, 4 and 5 were much closer as Edgar displayed the heart that has endeared him to fans throughout his career but it wasn't enough to pry the title from Aldo.
Edgar has been the best lightweight fighter in the world for the last two years. After he lost the 145-pound championship to Benson Henderson and a subsequent rematch, UFC president Dana White convinced Edgar to move down in weight by giving him an immediate title shot.
As great as Edgar can be, he was no match for Aldo on this night. Aldo continues to prove that, in case anyone doubted it, he belongs in that Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre category of best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The level of dominance Aldo has displayed wherever he has been, going back to his time in Shooto, Pancrase and WEC, is remarkable. He has never lost as a featherweight in his career. His only loss came as a lightweight in 2005.
Since that defeat, Aldo has been an unstoppable machine. He has compiled a 15-0 record, including this victory over Edgar, and he has barely been challenged. Even when fights go the distance, like his UFC debut against Mark Hominick, it was a one-sided contest.
For Edgar, this defeat really leaves him at a crossroads. He has now lost his last three fights, though both losses against Henderson were so close that you could have made a valid argument either way, and moved down in weight to appease the people who felt he would be better off lighter.
He is still one of the preeminent fighters in all of mixed martial arts and belongs in big spots, but finding the next fight for him could be tricky. Given his natural weight is so close to 155 pounds anyway, you have to wonder if he wants another fight as a featherweight.
The future appears to be uncertain for Edgar, but it has never looked brighter for Aldo after this victory.