Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo: Reasons For and Against the Superfight
Fans are abuzz regarding the possibility of a superfight between newly minted lightweight champ Anthony "Showtime" Pettis and long-time featherweight champ Jose Aldo. While it's easy to immediately become giddy over the prospect of such a fight, sitting back and thinking about it offers numerous reasons both for and against such a fight.
So what are these reasons? Why can't they just let these two knockout artists go at it? Why should they do it, anyway?
Find out right here!
For: The Fight Would Be Awesome
Let's get the most obvious reason out of the way. The fight would probably be really solid.
Anthony Pettis and his wild striking (and, apparently, scary guard) have kept him near the top of most must-see lists. Jose Aldo is no slouch, either. He hasn't been all that exciting lately, but it's hard to forget his six-fight knockout streak in the WEC.
The two of them can easily combine for a high-flying, push-the-boundaries-of-what-we-think-is-possible kind of fight. That's the sort of fight worth waiting for.
Against: "Fight of the Year" Candidates Rarely Work out
Other fights that were guaranteed to be must-see affairs include Jose Aldo vs. Chan-Sung Jung, Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar 2, Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote and Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort.
All of those, by the way, stunk up the joint.
It's odd, really, how consistently these sorts of fights end up being total duds.
In fairness, not all of them wind up this way. Fights like Chan-Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier, Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3 and Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann 2 were highly anticipated and wound up being great.
Still, they are an unquestionably small minority.
For: Jose Aldo Really Wants to Move to Lightweight
To quote myself, "Aldo desperately wants to move to lightweight. He makes it known at every possible opportunity. If he vacates the belt and finally takes the plunge, an immediate title shot would be warranted."
When you can literally find a half-dozen links (not including those three, by the way) about a champion really wishing he could move up a weight class, you can pretty safely assume he's open to changing divisions.
Really, though, Aldo moving to lightweight is an inevitability. Keep in mind Aldo's notoriously harsh weight cut against Mark Hominick, which took place when he was just 24 years old. Age, traditionally, makes weight cuts even tougher.
Aldo is going to need to fight at lightweight sooner or later. Why not now?
Against: Massive Backlog of Featherweight Contenders
Chad Mendes, Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson are three dudes who could all be fighting for the belt right now. All three of them are on incredibly impressive winning streaks.
Mendes has four knockouts in a row. Ricardo Lamas has four straight fighting some serious competition. Cub Swanson has five in a row, four of which are stoppages.
Asking them to wait while Aldo holds out for a shot at Pettis is a disservice to those three. That doesn't even get into other noteworthy contenders like Chan-Sung Jung, Frankie Edgar and Nik Lentz.
While Aldo vs. Pettis would surely be a great fight, there are still plenty of great challenges for him in the 145-pound division.
For: An Aldo-Free 145-Pound Division Would Be Pretty Awesome
Speaking of Swanson, Lamas and Mendes...does anybody expect them to take another fight right now?
I know I don't.
With Aldo recovering from a broken foot in his fight with Jung, all three of them know they are looking at a possible title shot. Why would they risk that chance by taking a fight? Never even mind potentially fighting each other.
Aldo leaving featherweight in favor of a run at lightweight would blow the top off the division. What fans would be left with is a crazy rush of exciting fighters all climbing over each other for an open belt. It blows the doors open when it comes to matchmaking and offers slews of amazing possibilities that we probably just won't see with Aldo as champion.
Against: Massive Backlog of Lightweight Contenders
As stated, there's a big pileup of featherweight contenders. The slew of talent currently at 155, though, could be even bigger.
While Pettis just took the belt, he actually cut ahead of TJ Grant for a crack at Benson Henderson. The heavy handed Canadian has been on an amazing streak lately, most recently demolishing long-time contender Gray Maynard. He is already deserving of a title shot, but there are plenty of other options for Joe Silva right now.
Rafael dos Anjos, Josh Thomson and Pat Healy all can make a solid claim for a chance at taking the belt. Adding Aldo, really, isn't quite necessary at this time.
For: Aldo Would Be at His Best at 155
We all know that Jose Aldo is pretty damn good at featherweight. Imagine him, though, with substantially better cardio, allowing him to show off the strong grappling and powerful kicks that he only hints at after Round 2.
That is what we could see out of Aldo if he moves up to 155 pounds.
We all know Aldo is capable of being wildly exciting. The weight cut, though, just takes so much out of him that every fight boils down to him being able to take the first two rounds and hopefully pick up another down the line.
Holding on to those extra 10 pounds, though, would allow Aldo to potentially start showing five strong rounds of fight. That would likely be a sight to behold.
Against: UFC, Aldo's Management Wants Him to Remain Only Brazilian Champ
It snuck up on a lot of folks, but with the exception of interim champ Renan Barao, Jose Aldo is the only Brazilian with a UFC strap. That makes him one of the most popular, marketable, puts-asses-in-seats fighters in the promotion's second-biggest market.
They really want it to stay like that.
Having Aldo move up to lightweight would be a huge risk for most involved. Should Aldo lose, he would almost certainly remain at 155 pounds, making him just another above-average fighter in a division filled with others that fit that bill.
Right now, Aldo is a pound-for-pound great capable of filling a soccer stadium in Brazil. Why give it up?