Recently it emerged that the highly regarded WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo had been offered a fight at lightweight against Kenny Florian, but that his management team had turned it down.
Some have interpreted this as Aldo’s camp having ducked Florian, but in a new interview with TATAME Aldo’s manager Andre Pederneiras claims that the real reason was that they had their eyes on the champion and were not willing to settle for second best.
“[We] had a conversation with the UFC guys and suggested a fight between him and the 4th pound-for-pound [Frankie Edgar].
“A counter proposal was made for a fight between Kenny Florian and Aldo. They asked me about it and I was the first to say no. Aldo fighting a UFC champion, the 4th pound-for-pound, is one thing, but the counter proposal was not interesting.”
“Jose Aldo wanted to fight, but I didn’t let him do it because this fight wouldn’t bring any advantage at all for us, regardless of if Florian is a great fighter or not.”
I think that Aldo’s management have the right to choose whichever path they think is best for the fighter, but I must admit I find their logic a little curious here.
For one thing, whether he’s been a champion or not I’d still say that at this moment in time a win over Kenny Florian is more significant than a win over Sean Sherk.
Also, after turning down the fight Aldo was then signed to fight Josh Grispi at 145lbs. Now Grispi is a very talented young fighter but in terms of progressing Aldo’s career a win over the 22 year-old doesn’t do nearly as much as a win over Florian would.
Whether this is the real reason they turned down the fight or not I think in hindsight it wasn’t a bad choice. Aldo may well have the talent to take the lightweight division by storm, but Florian is an extremely tough test for his 155lb debut in the UFC.
I’ve pushed for Aldo to go to lightweight before on this site, but since the UFC and WEC merger was announced I don’t feel it’s quite as pressing an issue. He’ll now get the exposure he deserves at 145lbs on the big stage, and fresh challengers are likely to appear as some current UFC lightweights cut down to test themselves in the new division next year.