When Jose “Junior” Aldo successfully defended his featherweight championship against Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung Saturday, August 3 in the main event of UFC 163, the decisive TKO victory made it clear there wouldn’t be another chapter in this battle.
With each man moving on to a new opponent, predicting who is the next challenger for Aldo’s title and Jung’s first fight heading toward redemption is the talk of the MMA world.
After an exciting main event, this is the direction moving forward for both fighters.
What’s Next for Aldo?
After his seventh-straight title defense and his 16th straight overall victory in his career, it has become abundantly clear that Aldo is one of the toughest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and finding a worthy opponent will be difficult.
While it should be Anthony Pettis that takes on Aldo next—it was Pettis that was originally slated to fight the champion Saturday before pulling out with an injury—Pettis will now be taking on Benson Henderson for the lightweight title at UFC 164, per John Morgan of MMA Junkie.
There can be a case made for talented fighters like Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson to get a shot at Aldo and his title, but no fighter deserves the championship opportunity more than Chad Mendes.
Mendes is currently ranked as the No. 1 challenger in the UFC.com rankings, and as long as he beats Clay Guida at UFC 164, the veteran deserves another shot at Aldo and his title.
After three straight wins since suffering a KO loss to Aldo in January of 2012 (beat Darren Elkins, Yaotzin Meza and Cody McKenzie), Mendes is ready to unseat the divisional king.
What’s Next for Korean Zombie?
While this is a tough loss to swallow for a veteran like Jung, the fact that he accepted this fight on late notice and still managed to make it through four rounds before a freak shoulder injury ended any hope of victory proves he is still a legitimate contender in the division.
That’s why the Korean Zombie should be the final test for Ricardo Lamas.
Lamas was originally slated to fight against Jung at UFC 162, per MMA Junkie, but when Pettis was injured and UFC officials put the Korean Zombie in the title match, that left Lamas without a fight.
Aldo teased a possible jump to the lightweight division on Fuel TV after his win, but Lamas—winner of all four fights in his UFC career—deserves a title shot. If Aldo is tied up with Mendes or a move to another division, Jung and Lamas will be on a collision course with the latter earning a title shot with a victory.
The Korean Zombie is a great fighter, but he is starting to become a divisional gatekeeper and a fight against Lamas would only further prove that point.