Ever since his debut at WEC 34 in 2008, Jose Aldo has been on a tear in the Featherweight division. Currently riding a 14 fight win streak, Aldo has only dropped one fight in his professional career and has seemingly cleared out the UFC’s Featherweight division of contenders since winning the championship from Mike Brown at WEC 44.
The only question left is who or what’s next?
At UFC 142 Scarface knocked out Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes, successfully defending his title for the fifth straight time, and giving us one of the most memorable post fight celebrations, running into the crowd and celebrating with his countrymen. With another victory in hand, and earning his first finish inside the UFC, not counting his wins in the WEC, what remains to be seen is what could be next for the Brazilian inside the Octagon.
While many fans would love to see Aldo move up to the Lightweight division and try his luck in a division currently ruled by Frankie Edgar, Aldo’s trainer, Andre Pederneiras, has said the only way under his watch that Aldo would move up, is if it was for the Lightweight strap. Dana White mentioned at the UFC 142 post-fight press conference, he’s open to whatever move Aldo would want to make.
“I would have no problem with him staying at his weight now and defending his title there or moving to 155 pounds, whatever he feels like he wants to do,” said White.
While the list of challengers currently under the UFC’s roster might be small for Jose Aldo at Featherweight, a possible title shot in the Lightweight division between the winner of Edgar and Ben Henderson at UFC Japan, would make most MMA fans dreams. While nothing is set in stone as of right now, let us take a look at some possible match-ups for Jose Aldo, both inside and out of the UFC:
Hatsu Hioki: Considered by many to be one of the top five Featherweights in the world when he signed with the UFC in June. Unfortunately for Hioki, his stocked dropped a bit due to a disappointing showing against George Roop at UFC at UFC 137. While it wasn’t pretty, Hioki extended his current win streak to five straight, with his last loss coming against Omigawa via split decision. Hioki will next take on Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144, and should he come out victorious, could be the next to challenge for the title
Yuri Alcantara: Not having dropped a fight since 2009, Yuri continued his win streak defeating Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 142 on the prelims. Iuri has had three appearances inside the Octagon winning all three including a win over Ricardo Lamas in his UFC debut. While the names to most MMA fans aren’t there, with contenders thinning in the division, he could potentially be called up next.
Pat Curran: Curran made the drop to Featherweight after a decision loss to Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 39. Since then, Curran has won three straight including wins over Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro. Curran is currently set to fight current Bellator champion Joe Warren at Bellator 60. While the chances of this fight coming to fruition is slim to very none, he’s a still a fighter out there that should ever find his way to the UFC, could give a fight to Aldo.
Tatsuya Kawajiri: After his win over Drew Fickett, The Crusher dropped down to Featherweight, taking out Joachim Hansen at DREAM 17. While he only has two wins in the division, Kawajiri widely considered to still be one of the better fighters in the division, with more than handful of people wanting to see the popular fighter inside the UFC before the end of his career.