News emerging from Brazil today suggests that the UFC were trying to put together a superfight between the WEC’s 145lb champion and emerging superstar Jose Aldo and the one of the UFC’s best lightweight fighters Kenny Florian.
“They made the proposal. I wanna fight, it can be at WEC or in the UFC”, Aldo tells the TATAME website, adding that the UFC’s intention was to hold the bout in December in the UFC at 155lbs.
Don’t get too excited though as Aldo’s managers turned down the offer.
Instead Aldo now expects to face another featherweight challenge in the form of Mark Hominick at a WEC event in January.
“We have a little time off now, but it’s just a little rest because I’ll have another belt defense in January and I think maybe it’ll be against Mark Hominick, who is great Canadian on KickBoxing. So, I’ll fight in January, but I still don’t know the date yet,” the hugely talented fighter reveals.
If true even just the news that Aldo Vs Florian was considered is fascinating on a number of levels.
Firstly it shows that Zuffa execs are keen to fast-track the Brazilian star into the UFC as soon as possible, perhaps as a reaction to recent changes at 155lbs, with less marketable fighters like Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard now overtaking the likes of BJ Penn at the top of the ladder.
It’s not clear however whether this would have been just a one-off, or if accepting the fight would have seen him vacate the 145lb title.
Personally I’m somewhat surprised that they would offer Aldo such a significant challenge so soon. In my own mind I had envisioned Aldo first stepping up to the WEC’s 155lb division to find his feet in the weight class before facing the best the UFC has to offer.
The fact that Aldo’s management team turned down the fight suggests that they would prefer to take things a little slower rather than throw him to the lions straight away.
It’s a bold decision as few WEC fighters could afford to turn down such an opportunity. Aldo is no ordinary fighter though, and if he continues to perform the way he has so far in his WEC career then the world is his oyster.
It’ll be interesting to see how Zuffa react now that this news is in the public domain. Both Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta hinted at last weekend’s UFC Fan Expo in England that plans were afoot for the WEC in 2011, and this news only further reinforces the fact that the dividing line between the two promotions is crumbling.