UFC 156'S JOSE ALDO WANTS LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE, STILL CONSIDERING BANTAMWEIGHT DROP
When UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo fights former lightweight title holder Frankie Edgar, the Brazilian is looking at it as a bit of a test run.
Aldo believes he can hang with the boys at 155 pounds and wants a chance to move up and challenge for the promotion's lightweight title. He's just waiting on trainer Andre Pederneiras to give him the green light.
"It all depends on this fight," Aldo said through an interpreter. "My trainer, 'Dede,' thinks I'm not quite ready. When he thinks I'm ready to go up, I fully intend to go up. Once I beat Frankie Edgar, I'm sure that I can prove that I can fight one notch above.
"Certainly I believe that I'm ready, but 'Dede' believes that I'm still too young, and so he's keeping me back. But I think I'm fully capable of fighting one category above."
At 26 years old, Aldo currently boasts a 14-fight win streak in the featherweight division. Along the way, he's picked up the WEC and UFC titles, and he's generally dominated everyone he's faced. Edgar was always among the smallest fighters in the UFC's lightweight division, so Aldo won't have a true chance to feel out what he'd face at 155 pounds, but he insists his body is naturally moving toward the division.
Aldo revealed he generally walks around at about 170 pounds, well above the 135-pound weight he carried when he first started training.
"It's interesting because when I started, I used to weigh 62 kilos," Aldo said. "As time went on, now I'm at 78 kilos. When you have a fight, you make the weight. However, it always goes back to a little above where it was before."
Aldo doesn't have a long line of immediate contenders at 145 pounds. Names like Ricardo Lamas, Dennis Siver and Cub Swanson are out there, and Chad Mendes is blasting his way to a rematch, but none stand head-and-shoulders above the others right now. So a diversion to lightweight could potentially allow those contenders to sort each other out, as Aldo said he doesn't believe a move to 155 pounds would necessarily be permanent.
"I see no problem at all (in coming back to featherweight)," Aldo told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "As a matter of fact, it's never been a problem to maintain my weight. I've been maintaining my weight for quite some time, so I would like to fight at a higher category while maintaining my current weight.
"Athletes and fighters always dream of fighting one category above, and I believe that I can do that. I would like to. That's one of my goals. … I would like to do much as Anderson Silva has done. I would like to go up and fight for the championship, obtain the championship and then go back to my category. If I'm able to keep both, I would try that. However, if not, I would like to fight for a title in the category above and then come back to mine."
While Aldo's natural growth makes it a bit unsurprising that he's considering a move to lightweight, the fact that he also believes he could make a move the other way is almost shocking.
Early in his career, Aldo teased of the possibility of becoming Zuffa's first-ever three-division champion by adding bantamweight and lightweight crowns to his featherweight title. The growing Aldo hasn't mentioned 135 pounds in quite some time, but he revealed it's not entirely out of the question.
"I have made that weight once, and it has been a dream of mine to win three title," Aldo said. "Nobody has beaten that record yet. Andre knows that's a dream of mine, but he controls my career, so it all depends. Someday I hope to achieve that. I'd like to make history.
"For a fight for the title, I could make 135 pounds. I'm not saying it would be easy. It would be difficult, but I think I could do it."
Of course, Aldo's Nova Uniao teammate, Renan Barao, is currently the UFC's interim bantamweight champion and is set to face Michael McDonald in February. Should he get through McDonald and somehow unseat current champ Dominick Cruz, Aldo isn't likely to try and steal away his friend's belt.
"I'd be very happy for him," Aldo said. 'We've been teammates for a long time. He's already interim champion. He's very close to it.
"I'm happy for Barao. I hope that he achieves the title, and that will be achieving one of our team's goals."
But if things don't work out for Barao, it could open the door for Aldo to achieve the unthinkable.
"I think that they're both great challenges," Aldo said. "I think 135 is already a great challenge. I believe that losing the weight would be a greater challenge, but 155 would still be a great challenge. I could still make the weight, but the other guy would be stronger, so both are great challenges."
Of course, Aldo has a staunch challenge just six weeks away, as a hungry Edgar could prove a very difficult foe. However, a victory could open up some very interesting possibilities for the Brazilian wrecking machine. He's currently one of four Brazilian UFC champions, but if things go according to plan, he could become a legend.
"I believe that there is a lot to be done," Aldo said. "One of my dreams was to be a champion, and I am. I have achieved that. There is a lot still that can be achieved.
"I think that this upcoming fight is a superfight against Frankie Edgar. I think it's going to be great, but I have even more dreams."
For more on UFC 156, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.