Long time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo potentially moving up the UFC’s lightweight division has been talked about many times over the years, but just a few days ahead of his latest title defense against Chad Mendes at UFC 179, the Brazilian star appears to have lost interest in the idea.
“Those talks [of fighting at 155lbs] were stronger in the past,” Aldo says in a new interview with ESPN.com. “I don’t know what happened along the way, but right now, I feel like my weight class has improved a little and there is a lot of competition at 145.”
He has a point. Along with Mendes, who potentially could give him the toughest fight of his career to date on Saturday night, there’s also the No.2 ranked Cub Swanson who’s on a six fight winning streak in the division and is eager to avenge a 2009 TKO loss in the WEC against the champion, while current No.5 Conor McGregor has injected new life into the 145lbs ranks. Despite already having tasted defeat to Aldo early last year, it’s not out of the question that Frankie Edgar could one day challenge for the belt again too.
So, there’s no longer as much need for Aldo to move up a division in order to seek big fights, and at the same time it appears that his cut down to 145lbs is now becoming easier which appears to also be influencing his decision to stay put for now.
“The last time I made weight, it was pretty much effortless,” Aldo said. “I think the change has to do with how much I was losing on weigh-in day. I used to lose about three kilos [6.5 pounds]. Now, I lose about half that.
“I could even make 135 pounds, I believe, but that’s not a plan in my career.”
Of course Aldo is still only 28 years old, so there’s plenty of time for a move to lightweight at some stage down the line if he continues to clean house at featherweight.