With Conor McGregor set to fight Nate Diaz again at UFC 200, the UFC brass have decided that the Irishman cannot hold up the featherweight division any longer.
While Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar are to fight for an interim title and not the undisputed title, this will send a message to McGregor that his absence is noted.
Edgar v Aldo for the interim 145 lbs title now targeted for UFC 200 as well. Expect that fight + the other ones to be announced shortly.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 30, 2016
Aldo, who lost his last bout at UFC 194 to McGregor, has been calling for a chance to fight for the title at UFC 200 since December. He has been granted his wish, sort of. Fighting for an interim title seems to be a little bit of an insult to the man who held the belt since the featherweight division was added to the UFC. However, Aldo probably would not have taken the fight with Edgar had something not been on the line.
With McGregor’s absence in the division being felt, there were a few fighters feeling like they were entitled to a shot and even more fighters who were viable options for top contender fights sitting idle waiting on McGregor’s next move. The UFC had to get these guys to fight again to keep the division active and more importantly to keep interest in the division, which has been one of the most exciting in recent years.
This fight produces many options for the UFC, regardless of the result, as it would create a clear number one contender and frees up the other to bring the likes of Max Holloway and Chad Mendes back into the equation, who until now have been looking down the rankings for possible opponents with Aldo and Edgar both sitting out waiting on McGregor’s return.
If Edgar wins, it sets up the inevitable main event at Madison Square Garden with Conor McGregor. Should Aldo win, it sets up a huge rematch, which would sell out any arena in the world. Whatever the outcome, this is a great addition to the UFC 200 card.
Paul O’Dea, Pundit Arena