Facing current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is certainly a daunting challenge for anyone, and that includes Hatsu Hioki, the fighter believed to currently the No.1 contender in the division who’s declined the chance to fight him for the 145lb belt.
Hioki looked impressive in his last decision victory over Bart Palaszewski in Japan at UFC 144, taking his UFC record to 2-0 and extending his overall winning streak to six fights, but according to Dana White he wasn’t ready to take the next step up just yet.
“Many pegged Hioki as the next possible challenger for Jose Aldo’s title, but he wants one more test before going for the belt,” White told FoxSports.com.
As such Hioki will now fight Ricardo Lamas at a UFC On FX card on June 22nd instead.
That appears to pave the way for another featherweight contender Erik Koch to get the next shot at Aldo’s title.
Koch is amongst a number of other young, rising stars emerging in the UFC at this moment in time along with the likes of Rory MacDonald at welterweight and Michael McDonald at bantamweight.
Currently 2-0 in the UFC and 13-1 in his career overall, the 23 year-old is a well-rounded fighter who’s a threat on the mat or on his feet, he’s a worthy challenger for the belt, though ironically I think he more so that Hioki could have done with another fight or two under his belt before facing Aldo.