As the list of bantamweight contenders vying for Henry Cejudo’s title continues to grow, it’s a former featherweight champion without a win in the division who appears next in line for a shot at the belt.
UFC president Dana White confirmed on Friday that the promotion is working towards booking a fight between Cejudo and Jose Aldo for later this year.
Rumors first surfaced about the fight earlier this week with targeted plans to have Cejudo face Aldo at UFC 250, which is tentatively scheduled to happen in Brazil in May.
“That’s the fight that I want to do,” White said when asked about Cejudo vs. Aldo when speaking to media ahead of UFC 246. “That’s the fight that both of those guys want. So hopefully we get that done.”
Sources close to the situation confirmed to MMA Fighting that talks have already started for the fight between Cejudo and Aldo but a deal has not been struck just yet to make it official.
It’s an odd bit of matchmaking considering Aldo is coming off a split-decision loss to Marlon Moraes in his only fight at 135 pounds and he’s dropped his past two fights in a row overall.
According to White, wins and losses don’t strictly determine title fights, especially when it’s a matchup the champion is seeking.
He points to a different championship bout just booked on Thursday with Israel Adesanya putting his middleweight title up for grabs against Yoel Romero as evidence that some fights just supersede rankings and records.
“A lot of people think Jose Aldo won. A lot of people think he didn’t. I told you guys the night of the fight, Henry Cejudo hit me up and said ‘Aldo won that fight, that was bullsh*t.’ He wants that fight,” White explained. “Israel Adesanya wants to fight Yoel Romero. How does that make sense? It doesn’t make sense. You know what makes sense? Israel Adesanya’s such a bad ass he wants to fight the guy nobody wants to fight.
“First of all, [Paulo] Costa’s the guy he was supposed to fight is hurt but we could wait a couple more months and do that fight. He doesn’t want to wait. He wants to fight one of the baddest dudes ever in the history of the division. A guy nobody else wants to fight and feels that his legacy will not be fulfilled if he doesn’t fight him. That’s bad ass. I’m in.”
White knows that Cejudo could face a different bantamweight and Adesanya could just sit out a couple of more months to wait for Costa to get healthy but he loves that both champions are willing to step up to the toughest challenges no matter what a resume might say.
“Does that make sense for me in any way shape or form for my business? No,” White said. “Is Yoel Romero the easiest dude in the world to deal with? No. And the list goes on and on but who gives a sh*t. That’s incredible. I’m in.”