Last night, at UFC 169 in at the New Jersey Prudential Center saw UFC 145 lb Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo defeat Ricardo Lamas by Unanimous Decision. For Aldo, it was another dominant performance, making this the 5th consecutive defense Aldo has made of the belt. Aldo lost the last round after taking the first four, but coasted to another big win that showed his diverse and aggressive striking game and flashed his ground game for all to see. If there was talk before that Aldo was cleaning out the Featherweight division, that talk is sure to intensify. What is next for Jose Aldo.
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There really are few challenges left for Aldo at 145 lbs. The number one contender out there is Chad Mendes, who is a very capable fighter. But, Aldo made short work of Mendes in their first meeting and though Mendes has pulled of a string of impressive victories, no one really thinks he has closed the gap with Aldo much.
Looking at the 145 lb landscape, perhaps Japanese veteran Tetsuya Kawajiri could be fast tracked into a title match with Aldo. After all, Kawajiri is 1-0 in the UFC, has a hefty resume and at 35 he does not have much time left. The international nature of the match might or might not appeal to the UFC brass, but after that, most fighters in the division are at least 1-2 wins away from consideration for a title shot.
Not even the upcoming BJ Penn – Frankie Edgar matchup at 145 lbs would yield an interesting fight for Aldo, as he has already defeated Edgar and BJ Penn and he share Jiu Jitsu roots under Andre Perdenerais at Nova Uniao.
Aldo has also been surrounded by talk of him heading to the Lightweight division. That is his most likely course, whether it be his next match or the one after. He has already been matched with Anthony Pettis, and an inter divisional type of ’superfight’ like that seems to be right up the UFC’s ally. With Pettis recovering fro a knee injury, and with his next match being the unappealing Benson Henderson rematch, the match up of Aldo and Pettis might be closer than you think.