UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo faces his stiffest test in February of next year as he takes on former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Aldo has long been rumored to be headed to Lightweight, as his lanky body seems suited to the weight class and his seven year undefeated run has fans and insiders alike wondering what his next challenge may be.
Aldo is already a 2 to 1 favorite at most sports books over Edgar, so the general thinking seems to be that he will beat Edgar. Edgar, though not huge even at Featherweight, should not be discounted, as his pedigree and his ability to game plan for a specific opponent have been the source of a lot of his success.
Should Aldo get through Edgar however, it would be a high quality scalp on his resume, one that came from the Lightweight division. Also on Aldo’s resume are guys like Mike Brown and Kenny Florian. Brown is a smaller Lightweight (like Edgar) but Florian was long and lanky and huge, and Aldo handled it pretty well.
But Aldo is going to experience a big difference at Lightweight when he gets into the deep waters. The size and strength of guys that are big, guys like Benson Henderson and Gray Maynard will be a handful for Aldo. Likewise, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone and the bigger guys in the division will present him with challenges.
Aldo’s frame however, is built for putting on some more weight and muscle, and he will in fact be a mid sized Lightweight should he go that route. There will be smaller people at Lightweight, such as Clay Guida, or potential incoming athletes Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez all would probably cede Aldo a reach advantage.
So who should Aldo fight first at Lightweight? I am leaning toward a real test, someone on the bigger end of the spectrum like a Gray Maynard. Aldo has done well with top wrestlers Chad Mendes and Urijah Faber, but their combined reach may not match Aldo’s. I want to see how he fairs against a bigger guy like Maynard.
If he beats Edgar this move will happen in 2013, so be on the lookout, because depending on opponent, Jose Aldo at Lightweight may not be the dominant lock he was at Featherweight.