In one of the more gruesome endings of the night, Jose Aldo retained his featherweight championship with a TKO victory over Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163. In a testament to Aldo's relentlessness, he targeted Jung's separated shoulder with kicks that eventually led to a TKO ending.
The question is, what's next for Aldo after dismantling "The Korean Zombie"?
It wasn't easy for Aldo, as he's now fought nine rounds over the course of his past two fights. This time around, Jung displayed heart and proved that he could put on an entertaining fight, but Aldo was simply too much to handle.
Unfortunately, Jung wasn't the only one who walked away with an injury.
Perhaps, this is a blessing in disguise, as the featherweight champion will finally have time to rest.
Once Aldo makes a full recovery, however, the UFC will be looking to book him in yet another high-profile main event. As the king of the featherweights, it's more than probable that Aldo's options are wide-open, as top fighters in multiple weight classes look to bring the champion down.
The question is, who should Aldo face next?
Benson Henderson/Anthony Pettis
Benson Henderson is set to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 on Aug. 31, 2013. Henderson, the reigning lightweight champion, is preparing to face the man whom he lost to at WEC 53 on Dec. 16, 2010.
Regardless of who wins, moving up to fight at Lightweight may be the best option for Aldo.
Aldo simply can't be touched, stepping in at 23-1 without a loss on Nov. 26, 2005. Since joining the UFC, he's won five consecutive fights, defeating some of the top names in the mixed martial arts industry.
Having defeated virtually every rational featherweight opponent, moving up may just be the best decision for Aldo to make.
Henderson is 19-2, the reigning lightweight champion and the 2012 UFC Fighter of the Year. He's won seven consecutive fights, including two over Frankie Edgar and decisions over Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez.
Pettis is 16-2, a two-time UFC Knockout of the Night winner and 3-1 since entering the UFC. He's won three consecutive fights, including back-to-back first-round knockouts against Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
The only question at this point is whether or not Aldo would be willing to move up in weight class to fight either star.
In 15 fights as a professional mixed martial artist, Chad Mendes is 14-1. The only time he lost was on Jan. 14, 2012, when Aldo blasted him with a knee to the face to win by knockout with exactly one second remaining in the first round.
Prior to that knee, it was a relatively even fight that displayed the potential for greatness. Since that clash, Mendes has been untouchable.
It's time for a rematch.
In his three fights since losing to Aldo, Mendes has pulled off three consecutive knockout victories. Not only has he defeated those opponents, but Mendes has absolutely decimated everyone who has come in his path.
None of those three fights made it out of the first round.
Mendes' recent dominance, as well as the even-but-brief battle between him and Aldo in 2012, suggests that he's next in line. While there may be alternate candidates, Mendes appears to be the most probable pick.
It doesn't get much better than three consecutive first-round knockouts.
On June 7, 2009, it took Aldo eight seconds to defeat Cub Swanson via TKO with a gorgeous double flying high knee. That seemed to have broken Swanson's confidence, as he proceeded to go 2-2 during his next four fights.
Since then, Swanson has won five in a row, including four via TKO or knockout.
To say that Swanson would love a fight against Aldo in eight seconds, once again, would be nothing short of naive. Not only has he he made tremendous strides over the past four years, but that flying knee would have knocked out anyone it connected with.
Four years wiser, something tells us Swanson wouldn't let that happen again.
With momentum on his side, it'd certainly be an intriguing matchup if Swanson and Aldo were to cross paths again. Not only is the former winning fights, but he's also dominating his opponents and putting on flashy finishes.
If anyone could exact revenge on Aldo, wouldn't you place your money on the fighter with a tendency to knock his opponents out?
At UFC 162 on July 6, 2013, Swanson defeated respected fighter Dennis Siver by knockout in the third round. That marked the second time Siver had ever been knocked out and the first in 13 fights—a span of one day over five calendar years.
It's safe to say that Swanson is primed and ready.
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