NITEROI, Brazil -- Jose Aldo is still recovering from a foot injury, but he already targets his return for early next year.
The UFC featherweight champion spoke to MMA Fighting in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, and analyzed the list of contenders waiting for an opportunity to fight for his title. In his opinion, Ricardo Lamas deserves the next shot at his 145-pound belt.
"I’m not the one who decides that, but in my mind I believe Ricardo Lamas is the next in line," Aldo said. "He already earned his chance. If it’s not him, I believe Cub Swanson should be the next option."
Ricardo Lamas has won four in a row in the UFC, including three finishes over Matt Grice, Erik Koch and Cub Swanson, but he hasn’t fought since January.
Aldo won’t return until next year, as he expects to return to training ‘100 percent recovered’ in a month, but the champion believes the featherweight contender should sit and wait for his chance.
"If I were Lamas, I wouldn’t fight anyone and just wait for my opportunity," he said. "He was supposed to fight me already but then (Anthony) Pettis got himself in the middle. Lamas should wait, this is his moment. But it they decide to do a rematch between Lamas and Swanson to see who fights me, that’s ok too."
Asked about Chad Mendes, who has knocked out four opponents since losing to Jose Aldo on 2012, the Brazilian said he’s not quite there yet, despite the fact that he has finished the likes of Clay Guida and Darren Elkins.
"Chad Mendes is still starting, haven’t fought anyone ranked yet, only fought guys that are not that good," he said. "He’s coming off good wins, but he hasn’t beaten good guys. So I believe the next two should be Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson."