Anthony Pettis should fight Jose Aldo NOW.
In his post-fight speech, Pettis called out Jose Aldo, but acknowledged that TJ Grant had earned a title shot and deserves to fight for the title. So that’s what we’re looking at next, Pettis vs. Grant. Jose Aldo. TJ Grant. Your average fan probably recognizes one of these names and not the other. Your average fan would probably favor watching Pettis fight one of these guys more than the other. And if you are a fervent fan, it’s not even a question.
First off, TJ Grant has earned a shot at the title at some point in the future. It’s not a question of if he deserves it at this point, but more a question of when. He is going to fight for the Lightweight title. But now is not the best time, not when Pettis vs. Aldo is a very real possibility.
Some fights precede others in terms of importance. Had GSP vs. Silva been in talks, and had both camps shown interest and agreement, Johny Hendricks or whoever was the #1 contender would have been put on the shelf like a can of soup. Anderson Silva fighting Jon Jones would eclipse every other fight they have ever participated in. GSP fighting Anderson Silva would do the same, except for maybe GSP’s rematch against BJ Penn, which was one of the few true superfights of our era. These are moments in MMA history that need to happen, for the sport, for the fighters and for the fans. We’re talking about epic moments that could and should happen so that later down the road people can look back and point to these moments as milestones in MMA that actually happened, instead of just missed opportunities.
Anything can happen in a fighter’s career. Look at Stefan Struve and Dan Hardy, two guys thought to have plenty of fights left in their careers. Not now. We tend to take for granted that fighters will be ready all day every day. Let’s be real, fighters are human and humans are mortal. If Pettis vs. Aldo is a possibility, even a remote one, then all stops should be pulled out to make that fight happen. We don’t know what will happen if both guys wait. Remember when Pettis was supposed to get the winner of Edgar/Maynard? Playing the waiting game didn’t work out in that situation and countless others.
I don’t buy that argument that Grant was already scheduled to meet Henderson before he got hurt. Again, Grant should get a shot at the title at some point, and had Henderson defended successfully, maybe the very next shot. But Pettis winning the way he did changed everything. Now anyone who lost to Bendo is a viable contender to face Pettis, along with guys who haven’t faced him before. Pettis was supposed to meet Aldo before the whole injury situation happened with Grant. Now that Pettis is also a champion, it makes the fight that much more intriguing and salivating (almost literally).
Fights have been cancelled or rearranged before, due to injuries and other circumstances. Everyone knows how fickle the UFC can be when it comes to deciding matchups. Rumors abound, but nothing is certain until contracts are drawn up and signed. Would the media and the fighters throw fits if Pettis got Aldo next? Maybe, but even if they did, it wouldn’t be anything new. It’s happened countless times before.
The bottom line is this: It’s the fight fans want to see. Both fans and fighters who are willing deserve a superfight. Dana White stated that either GSP/Silva or Silva/Jones would go down in 2013. Neither of those is going to happen this year (or maybe ever), but the guys in the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions have created a situation that could make a superfight happen. Champion vs. Champion. For how often that situation comes around, for how much has to be in alignment for that to happen, for how many things that have to go right to even talk about it, it’s not something to sit and wait on. Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo needs to happen now.
Tags: Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo, TJ Grant