Forty-eight hours ago, two men entered, and later left a sold-out Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with championship gold around their waists.
UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo successfully defended their coveted belts against dangerous challengers—Gray Maynard and Kenny Florian—in the UFC 136 double headliner.
Aldo neutralized Florian in a technical five-round affair, and Edgar shocked the world with a fourth-round stoppage in his trilogy with Maynard.
Of course, anytime you have two champions who aren’t too far off in weight, you can’t help but fantasize about a dream matchup between the two.
This is exactly why fans desperately crave a fight between middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, or a battle between Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez. There’s just something about two champions colliding that draws in anticipation like no other.
Such is the same with Edgar and Aldo. Even UFC President Dana White admitted in the post-fight press conference that he’d like to see this fight come to fruition in the near future.
It probably won’t be the next fight on the horizon, though. Edgar will likely defend against Ben Henderson/Clay Guida, and Aldo will challenge the unbeaten Chad Mendes.
Nevertheless, if these two champions continue their winning ways, a dream bout between the two is inevitable.
Everyone is bound to have different opinions on this fantasy bout, but here’s my take on why Edgar would clown Aldo.
Frankie Edgar has overcome tougher competition
Before I explain, let me just state that I am not by any means attempting to discredit Aldo. The Brazilian is a true phenom with a ferocious skill set, but he is not untouchable, Mark Hominick proved that in their UFC 129 slugfest.
As a standup fighter, Aldo possesses a yin-yang blend of flawless technique/timing and destructive knockout power. He is also a highly-decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the Nogueira brothers, but it is a skill that still had yet to be seen in the Octagon.
Simply put, Aldo is every bit as good as the media makes him out to be, but he hasn’t beaten the type of opposition that Edgar has dealt with since becoming champion.
Aldo has demolished many formidable contenders, but none compare to B.J Penn and Gray Maynard. Edgar beat Penn twice and just became the first man to not only defeat, but knock out Maynard in an official MMA bout.
Aldo has more title defenses under his belt, if you count his WEC title defenses. He has destroyed Mike Thomas Brown and Manny Gamburyan, picked apart a very game Urijah Faber, and outpointed dangerous foes in Hominick and Florian.
Good wins, but nothing to be overly impressed with as they were all matchups that Aldo was supposed to win.
Edgar was not supposed to beat Penn for the title at UFC 112, and he certainly wasn’t supposed to do the exact same thing in the rematch at UFC 118.
In his second fight with a then-unbeaten Maynard, Edgar was expected to lose to “The Bully” once again. Maynard swarmed all over Edgar in the first round with powerful boxing, but Edgar survived and arguably won the rest of the rounds.
Leading up to the trilogy fight, Edgar was actually the favorite for once, but nobody expected the New Jersey native to finish Maynard, much less knock him out.
Edgar has overcome adversity against elite contenders and rose to the occasion—Aldo has yet to do that.
Frankie Edgar is a nightmare matchup for Aldo
Aldo is a far superior striker than Maynard, but Maynard is a much more powerful human being. If Maynard, with all of his power, connected on Edgar’s chin multiple times and could not put him away, Aldo will fail in that department as well.
Even if Aldo has the technique and the speed behind his punches that Maynard lacked, Edgar can take it and keep moving.
Edgar isn’t on Aldo’s level when it comes to striking, but the lightweight champ is one of the best boxers for MMA. Edgar’s slick head movement and tricky footwork will keep Aldo guessing, and once “The Answer” decides to mix in some takedowns, Edgar will take complete control of the fight.
I mentioned before that Aldo is an extremely crafty BJJ black belt, but Edgar is no slouch when it comes to rolling. Trained by elite Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida, Edgar has one of the best ground games in the division.
Edgar would be able to maintain top control and pummel Aldo with a relentless ground-and-pound assault. This would be Edgar’s smartest route to victory, but with his well-rounded arsenal he could find a way to win in just about any position.
Aldo is very talented, but one mistake that many fans seem to make is comparing the featherweight champion to Anderson Silva.
Sure, there are similarities in style and they are on the same team, but Aldo isn’t quite there yet. The featherweight division itself is still developing.
Aldo is undeniably the best at 145 pounds, but Florian was his biggest test and he did not dominate. No disrespect to Florian, but Edgar is a different, better beast.
Mitch Ciccarelli is the sexiest featured columnist on B/R MMA and a United States Airman. Follow Ciccarelli on Twitter @mitchciccarelli