Times are good for WEC featherweight champ Jose Aldo. After decimating #1 contender Manny Gamburyan with a 2nd round TKO less the week ago the debate has turned away from whether or not this kid is for real and towards trying to determine just how awesome he is. Dana White chimed in claiming that anybody who was silly enough to have him atop their pound for pound list was a “moron” which may sound like a somewhat harsh insult coming from Aldo’s boss but just the fact that White would speak publicly on the issues indicates where the phenom stands in the sport. The other issue on the table involves his next opponent; who will it be, where will he come from, and has Aldo, after only two title defenses, cleaned out the entire division.
Aldo’s manager Ed Soares gave some insight into that recently stating that the ideal matchup for his client would be against current UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. But before we get ahead of ourselves let us consider what Aldo’s current division in his current promotion has to offer. Most of the buzz has surrounded 21 year old Josh Grispi. He’s 14-1 and headed into a WEC 52 showdown against fellow young blood Erik Koch and the consensus seems to be that should be pull off a victory there his reward (??) would be a title shot. It would be a wickedly fast paced, wildly entertaining battle that Aldo would ultimately win in convincing fashion. After that the pickings become a little slimmer. Perhaps if Koch, also with a single blemish on his record, were to pull the upset he too could make a case for the match. Diego Nunes and Mark Hominick are both coming off victories at WEC 51 though both are probably a win or two away from being able to make any real claims on the title. L.C. Davis is still there but he stock is on the decline after being choked out by Grispi in his last fight. He too is on the card for WEC 52, albeit the prelims, against Raphael Assuncao.
I’m OK, assuming victory, with giving the next shot to Grispi. The WEC can always use more fighters with name value and what better way to do that then send a kid in there against Aldo and hope that he makes a fight out of it. After that though I would like to see the WEC circle back and schedule a rematch against the man Aldo won the title from, Mike Brown. Obviously that wasn’t in the cards after Brown got stopped by a barrage of Gamburyan punches in the very first round at WEC 48. Then followed rumors and whispers about Brown’s mental state before he pulled off a victory last week against Cole Province. It wasn’t aired on live TV but is available now on versus.com.
I do agree with White in that Aldo is not the number one fighter in the world. He’s fighting in a weak-ish division and has only been in the big leagues for two years now. He does have Mike Brown and Urijah Faber on his resume but I don’t see those names stacking up against what lies on Georges St. Pierre hit list (BJ Penn (twice), Jon Fitch, Dan Hardy, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk and Josh Koscheck). We all know it’s not moronic to have him on top though, Dana White was just being Dana White as he has been known to do. There are bigger crimes going on on top 10 lists out there right now which are far more enervating (I’m looking at you so-called experts who still have Fedor stinking up your list). Personally I have St. Pierre, Silva, and then Aldo on my pound for pound list and in my mind he has kind of reached a plateau until one of those two above him loses or retires.
Of course what we would all like to see happen is either Aldo move up to the UFC where he would be a huge draw upon arrival (even more so than recent free agent signing Jake Shields) and would inject much needed life into a flat-lining lightweight division (so much hand wringing recently over whether a Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard fight can produce more than 400,000 buys by itself) or for the UFC and WEC to finally merge. There are endless contractual hurdles to overcome I’m sure but it would be mutually beneficial as we would no longer have nonsense like two lightweight champs under the same banner and the featherweights and bantamweights could start being treated as equals. I mean within the next few weeks Bellator will have 7 world champions whereas right now the UFC only has 5. . .does that not make sense to anybody else?
Still whatever happens on the business side of things and whomever they put up against him Jose Aldo has little to worry about. There is no featherweight in the world who can touch him and for the time being the 24 year old can enjoy being king.
Tags: Dana White, Frankie Edgar, Georges St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Josh Grispi, Manny Gamburyan, Mike Brown, Mixed Martial Arts, WEC