The Ultimate Fighting Championship appears to have entered the era where champions can select their own contenders.
According to a report from Combate on Friday, Henry Cejudo (15-2) will make the first defense of his bantamweight belt against former featherweight king Jose Aldo (28-6). The bout is being considered for the main event of UFC 250, which will be held at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 9. The two have reportedly verbally agreed to the bout, but it has not yet been finalized.
This is the second title fight reported in the last day where a champion will be making a defense against a challenger that has lost their last two bouts. On Thursday, the UFC booked Israel Adesanya to face Yoel Romero, with the latter losing his last two and missing weight in each of his last two title fights. The recent announcements have been met with criticism from fans and the media alike.
Former flyweight champ Cejudo defended that belt against bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 143 in January 2019. After emerging victorious by first-round knockout, he moved up to attempt to wrest the 135-pound belt from Dillashaw's grasp. Before the bout could go down, the California native tested positive for EPO and surrendered the bantamweight strap. Committed to the new weight class, Cejudo faced and finished Marlon Moraes to earn the vacant belt at UFC 238 in June 2019, becoming the fourth simultaneous two-division champion in promotional history. The double reign short-lived, Cejudo vacated his flyweight crown in December to solely focus on bantamweight.
Aldo made his divisional debut at UFC 245, where he dropped a narrow split decision to Marlon Moraes. Oft-lauded as the greatest featherweight of all-time, Aldo has lost his last two, including a lackluster decision defeat to eventual champ Alexander Volkanovski. Despite losing, Cejudo called out Aldo on social media. Aldo is currently ranked as the #8 bantamweight according to the UFC's official rankings, and is #7 in the Sherdog.com rankings. Throughout his illustrious career, Aldo has defeated the likes of Frankie Edgar, Chan Sung Jung, Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber and many others.