Like everyone else, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo heard the whispers associated with Frankie Edgar and a theoretical move to 145 pounds.
Those discussions have cooled since UFC President Dana White announced plans for an Edgar rematch with Benson Henderson, the man who dethroned him to become lightweight champion at UFC 144 last month in Japan. Even so, Aldo believes his path may someday cross with Edgar.
“Having Edgar, a former lightweight champion, would be amazing for the featherweight division, but if he doesn’t come down [to 145 pounds], in the future, I’m going to have to move to lightweight,” Aldo told Sherdog.com while visiting Vila Olimpica da Mare, one of the largest slums in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, with the backing of sponsor Flamengo, he donated hundreds of backpacks and gifts for local children.
Before any showdown with Edgar materializes, either at featherweight or lightweight, Aldo faces the task of defending his title, likely against the winner of the UFC on Fuel TV 3 matchup between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung. Aldo will watch the fight with keen interest.
“As soon as it’s confirmed, we will study the opponent,” he said. “I know a bit more about ‘The [Korean] Zombie,’ but that fact is we all know each other. We’re in the same division. We have to study our strengths and weaknesses more calmly. I’ll be watching this fight.”
Poirier has won five consecutive bouts, the last four in the UFC. Jung, meanwhile, will enter their matchup on the strength of his seven-second knockout against Canadian veteran Mark Hominick, who went five rounds with Aldo 11 months ago. The champion does not see a clear favorite in the fight.
“No one is tougher than the other,” Aldo said. “Poirier comes in on a good run, and ‘The [Korean] Zombie’ has been evolving since he left the WEC. I hope the best man wins and the best man comes to face me.”
Of late, there has been much speculation regarding potential challengers for Aldo. Hatsu Hioki, who defeated Bart Palaszewski by unanimous decision at UFC 144 tops the list, but the former Sengoku champion has asked that any pairing with Aldo be withheld in favor of further training. Aldo does not believe potential opponents are dodging him.
“It would be Hioki, really, but if he thinks it’s better to train a little more, OK. I have to understand his side,” he said. “Hioki will surely have the opportunity in the future.”
Others have pointed to Edgar as an ideal foe, but with his rematch against Henderson now ticketed for this summer, he does not figure to eye the featherweight division for quite some time.
“Edgar thinks he won against Henderson, so he really had to stay in his division and get the rematch,” Aldo said. “If he comes to featherweight, we’ll fight. Many people want to see it.”
Because the Poirier-Jung bout will take place in May, there likely will not be enough time for Aldo to fight again when the UFC returns to Brazil in June.
“I would like to fight in the UFC in Sao Paulo,” he said, “but if not, let’s go to war wherever the war is.”
Leonardo Fabri contributed to this report.