NEWARK –As Saturday night becomes Sunday morning the question of whether or not UFC featherweight champion will move up to challenge Anthony Pettis is no longer a question of "if" so much as "when."
After his dominant unanimous decision victory over Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169 in New Jersey, Aldo said as much in the post-fight press conference. Though, he ultimately left it in the hands of the decision-makers at the UFC, and there was a public back-and-forth sort of verbal agreement reached.
"It’s not about me, it’s about Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta]," Aldo said. "I’ve always been ready, I want that fight. Everybody wants that fight. If the fight was tonight, I’d fight him. So it’s up to UFC and Dana."
When White was given a chance to give his thoughts, he volleyed it back Aldo with his stamp of approval.
"Yeah, I mean, I’ve been talking about that fight. I like that fight, I like Jose at 155," White said. "I think the weight cut’s much easier for him, but again, I’m going to throw it back at him. He’s the king at 145. If he wants to move to 155 it’s a huge fight with Anthony Pettis. Yeah, it doesn’t suck."
The 27-year old Aldo defended his 145-pound belt for the sixth time against Lamas, and with so few new challenges left for him at featherweight, it might be time for him to try the bigger weight class. The only caveat is that Pettis is out right now with a knee injury, and not expected to return until sometime in the summer (or possibly later).
Though there’s no definitive timetable, Aldo (24-1) seemed as though he might be ready to make the move.
"It’s not only about me, I want the fight, the fans want the fight. So why not?" he said. "We’re ready to fight, so let’s get this fight."
"Sounds like we got a fight. There you go," White responded. "That was easy. Got that deal done. One more thing I don’t have to do on Monday."
It was a year ago that Pettis texted Dana White after Aldo defended his belt against Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, during Super Bowl weekend, requesting to move down to challenge Aldo. That fight was made for August 2013, but Pettis suffered an injury that altered the course of history. Pettis went on to fight Benson Henderson at UFC 164 to win the title, and Aldo beat Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163.
This time it’s Aldo vying for Pettis’ belt. Pettis, once again, called White during the press conference and said he wanted the Aldo fight. When asked how it would ultimately work, as to whether or not Aldo would vacate the title, White cleared up the situation should he make the move.
"I can answer that question: The answer is yes," White said. "[Aldo] would vacate the title, move up to 155, fight for the title. If he didn’t win the title at 155 he could go back and challenge for the 145-pound title again if he wanted to do that. Or, if he wins the 155-pound title, then two other guys would fight for the 145-pound title."