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José Aldo’s Claims Of An Interim Lightweight Title Shot Have Just Gotten A Lot More Credible

Jose Aldo

When Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title in November at UFC 205 and then announced he was to take a break from the octagon, the immediate fear was that the promotion would be bereft of excitement and drama. Of course, this was a silly notion, as the recent events at featherweight between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway have proven.

Following the reshuffle at the top of the featherweight division, the stripping of McGregor’s featherweight strap, the re-awarding of it to Aldo and then the interim title being won by Holloway against Anthony Pettis at UFC 206, it seems the featherweight division is once again a hot pot of activity.

The trash talk between Aldo and Holloway had begun immediately after the latter’s victory and a date was set for their unification bout, UFC 208 in Brooklyn, NY on February 11th. UFC bosses had on their hands another exciting main event.

Then, all of a sudden, things took a massive turn as Aldo announced that he is not going to be facing the Hawaiian in New York in February, but rather will reappear in March or April for a lightweight interim title fight.

jose aldo

The Brazilian had spoken of a potential move up to 155lb in the past but circumstances always kept him focused on the 145lb ranks. Now, following McGregor’s successful weight hopping adventures of 2016, it seems Aldo has been inspired to follow suit.

Without naming his opponent for the potential lightweight fight, Aldo suggested enough to indicate that it won’t be the long time pretender to the throne, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Aldo had indicated that his mooted opponent turned down the chance to face the featherweight champion.

Following this news fans were left with no concrete facts, merely the words of a man who, 12 months on from his stunning defeat to McGregor, still appears to have and unhealthy fixation on the Irishman and all he does.

However, following Aldo’s revelations, respected MMA journalist Ariel Helwani confirmed there is definitely something in the pipeline.

Helwani was quick to point however that the Brazilian was not the first choice for an interim title shot, with Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson the preferred choice for UFC bosses and, in all likelihood, MMA fans as well.

Meanwhile, the newly minted interim-featherweight champion, Holloway, has weighed in on the whole affair and addressed Aldo’s suggestions that he has been running scared from a fight with the Brazilian.

UFC 206: Holloway v Pettis

According to Fox Sports, Holloway has indicated that injury is the only reason he has pulled out of their February 11th clash. Speaking of the morning after his victory over Anthony Pettis, Holloway claims,

“The next morning I woke my (expletive) ankle was swollen as an elephant’s leg. I told the UFC ASAP what was up and I don’t know why they didn’t announce it, but I went to the doctors as soon as possible and I was told I can’t do nothing for four to six weeks,” Holloway explained. “No contact, no nothing on my ankle. I can’t be kicking, I can’t be doing anything. I found out a re-injured an old injury in my ankle and I let them know I’m out four to six weeks.

“I guess he’s coming out taunting and running his mouth but at the end of the day if I wasn’t injured I’d fight his ass any day of the week. I’d fight him tomorrow.”

Of the news that Aldo is in negotiations for a lightweight interim title fight in March, Holloway had this to say,

“Maybe this guy’s trying to stay relevant and make noise.

“Maybe the UFC told him he could fight Conor (McGregor) and he didn’t get to fight Conor so to make it up to him they’re saying he can try to do the same thing (and win two titles). I don’t care. I’m going to fight him.”

So on the whole, it is clear that Holloway and Aldo won’t be facing off any time soon and that the latter’s claims about a lightweight bout are in fact far more concrete than at first believed.

Looking at the current featherweight landscape, there is simply nobody besides McGregor and Holloway who has the pedigree to face the ‘undisputed’ champion. With both now absent for the foreseeable future, the only way for Aldo now is up.

Interesting times ahead.

Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.