It all seemed so simple on Saturday night when Jose Aldo said backstage following his latest successful featherweight title defense that he wanted to fight Anthony Pettis next, and then the lightweight champion contacted the UFC minutes later to accept that challenge.
However, in the cold light of day the waters have muddied a little and so now negotiations are ongoing behind the scenes to establish whether the fight will become a reality or not.
The original idea had been for Aldo to vacate his title and move up a weight class to fight Pettis, but the first stumbling block came earlier this week when Aldo’s manager, Andre Pederneiras indicated that they were reluctant to let go of the featherweight belt in order to fight Pettis, proposing an alternative solution instead.
“(A catchweight) would be interesting for both,” Pederneiras told MMAfighting.com. “They would keep the belts and do the fight everybody wants to see. Nobody wants to take the other’s title, we want to see the fight and do a great show for everybody. Aldo would move up a little, Pettis cuts a little, and it’s good for everybody.”
Unfortunately for them, Pettis’ camp weren’t interested in that solution.
“If Aldo doesn’t want to fight for the belt, we’ll fight someone else,” Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts said.
Not giving up on the potential superfight, Dana White has since stepped into the fray and believes he may have been able to clear at least one hurdle blocking the bout from happening at this stage.
“I think what Aldo was worried about, is if Aldo moves up to 155 and vacates the title, he wants to be treated like a champion in this fight – which he would be,” White told FOX Sports Live yesterday. “All the things that he gets at 145 pounds as a champion he would receive, and I think that was part of the issue, and that was all worked out today.”
White also stated that if Aldo does agree to vacate the belt and challenge Pettis at 155lbs, then Chad Mendes and Cub Swanson would then fight to establish the new featherweight champion.
“If Aldo lost at 155, he could move back down and challenge the new champion for that belt,” White explained.