Which bantamweight should Jose Aldo fight next?
Jose Aldo is one of the greatest of all time at featherweight, but recently has revitalized his career by going down to 135 pounds. Aldo has won his last two fights in his new division including a near-flawless performance recently against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265.
This begs the question who is next for the King of Rio? Below are a few options.
“Suga” Sean O’Malley
I put this one first because rankings wise, it makes no sense. But when have the rankings ever mattered anyway? O’Malley is one of the hottest prospects in the bantamweight division currently, despite being unranked. He has won three of his last four fights and it is clear that the UFC sees something in him.
A fight with Jose Aldo gives O’Malley a certain level of authenticity and would be a good fight for Aldo as well. Both men are primarily strikers and this would be O’Malley’s biggest test by far. It would be a big fight that would attract a ton of buzz due to MMA fans having very strong opinions about O’Malley (good and bad). It would also silence a lot of the hate O’Malley has gotten due to not fighting any ranked fighters, despite being unranked himself.
You can’t talk about the bantamweight division without bringing up Dominick Cruz. The inaugural UFC bantamweight champion is arguably the GOAT of the division. For a burgeoning Jose Aldo, I don’t know if there would be a more exciting fight.
Aldo vs. Cruz has always been an interesting fight, but never happened because Aldo struggled to make 145 at times, much less ten pounds lighter. Now that Aldo is fighting at 135, this dream fight is possible. Seeing the greatest featherweight of all time and the greatest bantamweight of all time throw down would be fireworks.
Many questions and controversy surrounded TJ’s return to the octagon after being suspended for two years, popping for EPO. Dillashaw silenced the doubters in July when he won a five-round war against Cory Sandhagen.
Dillashaw looked crisp and evenly matched with Sandhagen, which is impressive considering the layoff. He also competed in that fight with a knee injury, which might put a fight with Aldo on hold. Aldo has said he wants Dillashaw next, and I don’t think any fans would object.
Rankings wise, this fight makes the most sense for Jose Aldo because Rob Font is ranked one spot above him. Font is no doubt one of the best in the division and has the resume to back it up. With wins over Garbrandt, Moraes, and Sergio Pettis, he has no doubt earned a fight with Aldo.
A win over Aldo arguably puts him in title contention and for Aldo, gets him closer to his goal of reclaiming UFC gold. A five-round fight between Rob Font and Jose Aldo would really let us see how Aldo performs at 135 considering he has only had one five-round fight at this weight class.
The fight makes sense for both men and no doubt would be an absolute clinic. Though it should go without saying, the scrap could be a possible fight of the year candidate too.