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Anthony Pettis could drop to featherweight, challenge Jose Aldo

Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis
Esther Lin/

LAS VEGAS -- Just after the judges' scores were read, announcing Jose Aldo had retained the UFC featherweight champion, Dana White's phone buzzed. He looked down to see a text from Anthony Pettis, who was in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center watching the action.

Pettis, who was coming off a knockout win over Donald Cerrone just last week that had vaulted his name near the top of the lightweight contenders list, had an unexpected but interesting proposal for White: he wants to fight Aldo, and he's willing to drop down to featherweight to do it.

"It didn't cross my mind until he texted me, but it's crossing my mind now," White said with a smile afterward. "I like Pettis."

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The offer places Pettis in a unique position; he's effectively angled himself to challenge for the belt at either featherweight or lightweight.

White said he wasn't sure which way things would ultimately break, but it would likely be dependent on timing. It was possible that Pettis could try his hand against the Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez winner, or he could be plugged directly into a title match with Aldo.

Before Pettis' proposal, there was no clear-cut featherweight top contender, but several strong candidates including Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson and Chan Sung Jung.

White said it was his understanding that Pettis, a lifelong lightweight, would have no problem making 145 pounds. The former WEC lightweight champion has reeled off three straight wins since losing his UFC debut to Clay Guida in June 2011.

Fresh off his win over Frankie Edgar, Aldo indicated he would be up for the challenge.

"It's up to Dana but that is an interesting fight," he said through his interpreter. "I train to fight the best. I think to fight Pettis, he's almost there with a title shot in his own division but it would be an interesting fight."

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