Aldo's run as champion has been impressive. He was dominant in the WEC and continues that trend under the bright lights of the UFC.
He stands atop the featherweight world. Other contenders are climbing that mountain but they appear to be a ways down from toppling Aldo at this point. However, in MMA anything can happen, and Aldo needs a challenger.
Here are five potential contenders to Aldo's featherweight crown.
Frankie Edgar is still a contender for the featherweight championship but is certainly behind a few others, as fans are not interested in seeing yet another immediate rematch for Edgar.
Edgar pushed Aldo in this fight and came relatively close to taking home the gold. If he did not get off to a slow start and take punishment in the first two rounds, it is very possible Edgar is the champion today.
Timing is everything in making title fights, and it could work out that Edgar gets the immediate rematch. It is not preferable but it is not a terrible decision. Edgar is clearly at the top of his game and is deserving.
Edgar will have to decide if he wants to stay at featherweight, first and foremost.
Dana says that Anthony Pettis texted him 10 mins ago and said he wants to move down to 145 to fight Jose Aldo at featherweight.— UFC (@ufc) February 3, 2013
Anthony Pettis is next in line at lightweight but he seems to want a shot at Aldo. That would be an interesting fight, but he is not the best choice.
Pettis has not fought at featherweight. The other contenders in the division have put in their work. Pettis has not.
It is doubtful Pettis leapfrogs everyone at featherweight, but it would be a fun and intriguing fight. He has to be included in the list if you take him seriously that he wants to fight Aldo.
UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald takes place on February 16th, and this featherweight scrap could send the winner in to the title fight.
This has more to do with timing than anything else. If Aldo wants to stay busy and take another fight, then the winner of this fight will be on the same schedule as Aldo.
The winner will not jump in to the top three of the division but they will still have a legitimate claim for a title shot. The featherweight division continues to get deeper and deeper while being ultra-competitive.
Poirier has already been on the precipice of a title shot, but came up short. This is a chance for him, and Swanson too, to make a statement in the division and get fans excited about seeing a potential matchup with Aldo.
The Korean Zombie has won three in a row, and all three have been impressive finishes.
However, he has fallen a bit behind as we have not seen him in action since last May. Out of sight, out of mind.
Regardless, The Korean Zombie is at the top of the division and should he be chosen for the next title shot, it would be deserved.
Jung dropped his last two WEC bouts before making his UFC debut and going on the run that has led him to the top of the division. The transition has gone well for him, and the finishes have impressed everyone.
If he is not next in line right now then he needs to get back in the cage and get active as soon as possible.
Ricardo Lamas made his featherweight debut in the UFC and has looked phenomenal. He has gone 4-0 inside the Octagon and stopped the momentum of every featherweight he has fought.
Matt Grice was on a four-fight win streak and thought to be a potential contender. Lamas TKO'd him in under a round.
Cub Swanson, who has recently resurfaced as a contender, was forced to tap against Lamas.
Hatsu Hioki's name was thrown about, and then Lamas defeated him via unanimous decision to remove his name from the list of contenders.
And at UFC on FOX 6 he blitzed through top contender Erik Koch with a vicious TKO performance.
Four potential contenders all erased by Lamas. He has earned the right to fight Aldo next and he is the number two featherweight in the world right now. Lamas has done everything to earn this shot. Lamas has to be the first choice for the next fight against Aldo.