RIO DE JANEIRO — Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo came close to headlining the upcoming Fight Night card scheduled for Sept. 22 in Brazil.
Speaking with the media in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Aldo said he was offered a lightweight bout with Donald Cerrone in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo after Glover Teixeira pulled out of a fight with Jimi Manuwa, but his team eventually declined the offer on short notice.
In a scrum with Brazilian reporters, Aldo explained why he’s not interested in taking any fights at featherweight right now, except championship bouts, and why it would be important to fight at the same night of the planned title clash between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega.
It’s been a while since your win. What are the plans for your next fight? How is the talk going between the UFC and your manager?
Right after the fight, Dana talked about the big possibility of fighting on Dec. 8, in Canada again. I’ve had already asked for that fight, I said I wanted to be on that event. I really enjoyed fighting in Canada, where I made my UFC debut, and I hope to fight there again. It’s up to ‘Dede’ now, he’s looking into that and talking to the Dana and Sean to get my next fight done.
When they mentioned the Toronto card, did they say any specific opponent? You mentioned Pettis’ name earlier.
Pettis was a request from fans, I got many messages saying he would be a great fight for me next. They also asked me to fight in Sao Paulo, but there was not enough time to get it done at lightweight. They even put me to fight Cerrone, but it wasn’t done. I’m waiting for ‘Dede’ now, talking to him, and when he finds a good name and they agree to it, we’ll fight.
Cerrone was someone offered to you by the UFC?
Exactly, the UFC (offered). When Glover pulled out and they had no main event, they asked if there was a possibility for me to fight. We accepted, depending on the opponent, and they offered Cerrone right after, and he had already agreed, and ‘Dede’ didn’t think it would be good because there wasn’t enough time. We needed some time to rest before we started another camp again, so it didn’t happen. But now we’re waiting for ‘Dede’ to talk to them again so we know who we’re fighting.
Cerrone is fighting currently at 170, not 155. Would it be at 170, or would Cerrone move down to 155?
It was actually funny. Sean called ‘Dede’ talking about the fight, and ‘Dede’ asked who would be the opponent, and they called back moments after offering Cerrone. It would be 155 for sure, right? No way it’s 170, it’s too heavy. But it was tough because we didn’t have enough time to prepare, especially against Cerrone, a very tough guy, someone who fights hard in his losses, so there was no possibility. Maybe the possibility of fighting in Brazil got me overexcited, I said it was possible, but thinking clearly there was no way we could fight, especially someone like Cerrone. I have to be very well trained to fight him.
After ruling out Sao Paulo, which is next week, you mentioned Toronto. Looking at the options in the featherweight division, who would be a good option for you at 145, or maybe fight at 155 while you wait for Holloway vs. Ortega, which could also take place at that card?
That fight between Holloway and Brian is booked, and I hope it happens. I hope Max is okay and can put on a great fight and let the division move. To me, I don’t care if it’s at featherweight or lightweight, what matters is fighting at that card. I had already asked for it before that fight was booked, so for me it’s great because we know that if anything happens, we can fight for the belt, so I will get ready. No matter the weight, 145 or 155, I’ve earned a title
Being at the same card, wouldn’t it be the ideal scenario for you to fight at featherweight, since you would already be cutting weight to fight at 145?
I don’t cut weight, so it’s no problem for me to fight at lightweight. I only cut weight during fight week, and I wouldn’t be too heavy because it’s not my characteristic. I know nobody pulls out on fight week. If you have to pull out it would be before, when you’re training harder and that possibility exists. But I think about myself first, being on that card. That was my idea to begin with, to go there and fight, and if I have the opportunity to fight at featherweight I will be ready because I only cut weight from Monday to Friday.
Some featherweights mentioned your name recently, like Renato Moicano and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Who would you think it’s the ideal for you?
I can’t say there’s an ideal guy at featherweight because they’re all behind me, they are all trying to promote themselves to get to a title fight, and they all know I’m ahead of them. Especially if Brian wins, if he wins there’s no other option. That’s what we’re waiting for. There’s no reason for me to fight (them) now. In the future, yes, I want to fight them all because that’s how I have always was, fighting the best. If they are the best, I want to fight the best.
You don’t think it makes sense for you to fight anyone ranked below you, right?
Exactly, yes. They are below me and it doesn’t make sense. For them to move up in the division they have to fight me, but that’s not my idea now. My idea is to fight for the belt as soon as possible.
So, there’s basically no fight for you at featherweight…
There is. The belt.
Besides the belt, obviously, there’s no one else since you’re ahead of everyone.
Yes. There’s only Brian ahead of me, so he’s the guy I want to fight, and I know that. I’m waiting for that.