The Fight Horizon Featherweight Championship Edition – Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

The Fight Horizon

In today’s Mixed Martial Arts, new fights are announced so often it’s difficult to keep track of all of them, let alone understand how they came about and what the implications are. So twice a week here at The Fight Horizon on Inside Fights, writer Daniel Sohn takes a quick, but in-depth look at newly announced match-ups to mark on your calendar.

The Matchup:

Ricardo Lamas (13-2 overall, 4-0 in the UFC)

Strengths: Well-rounded, good power, can finish anywhere

Weaknesses: No dominant go-to move or technique

Jose Aldo (23-1 overall, 5-0 in the UFC)

Strengths: Brutal kicks and muay thai, otherworldly takedown defense

Weaknesses: Conditioning, huge for a featherweight

The Date: February 1, 2014 at UFC 169

Weight Class: Featherweight

What led to it: Lamas is just the next guy to have earned it. Aldo is one of the few champions who has consistently defended his title against every comer. Top contenders like Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung already had their chances. Cub Swanson deserves a shot too, but both Lamas and Aldo have already defeated him before. With his big win over Erik Koch, a guy who at one point was set to meet Aldo as well, Lamas is the man right now.

Why it matters: Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this is for the Featherweight championship. Highest pinnacle to be reached right here, so for Ricardo Lamas, it’s what his entire career has been leading up to. Every punch, kick, takedown and sweep, every bruise, cut, ache, pain, and injury and every drop of sweat and blood has been building to this moment. He’s got a chance to prove he’s the best in the world. Few enough guys get that chance and even fewer actually do it.

For Jose Aldo, it would mark his sixth consecutive title defense. For how stacked the FW division is, Aldo has proven to be a cut above everybody else. We’re not likely to see another FW defend the title that many times consecutively for a long while. Jose Aldo is that good.

Aldo is making his own case to be regarded as the #1 P4P best fighter of all time. In all the talk of Jon Jones, GSP and Anderson Silva, the one guy consistently not talked about as much is Jose Aldo. He has been running his weight class for a long time now and the names on his list of conquered foes is extremely impressive. Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung. Granted some of these guys are different fighters now, but one can’t argue that he’s beaten the best the world has to offer. He’s only 27 and there doesn’t seem to be an end to his streak of dominance in sight.

Lamas has a chance to wreck all of that, to be the guy who made that reign of supremacy come crashing down. Aldo is that mountain that no one has been able to climb, and if Lamas can do it, he’d be the first guy in a long while to have his hand raised opposite Jose Aldo. Beating one of the best fighters ever, on a card as epic as UFC 169, to win the featherweight title? That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we’re literally talking about dreams coming true. Aldo has to be on top of his game because he’s going to see an absolutely fierce Ricardo Lamas.

Now if Aldo wins, he is that much closer to clearing out his division. There might be only one or two more legitimate fights to make at FW for Aldo. Throw in the chance to fight Anthony Pettis, which is doubly appealing now that he is the Lightweight champion, and there is more and more reason for Aldo to try his hand at Lightweight. If Aldo does clear out his division, it would be the logical thing to do. It’s one thing to be a dominant champion for year after year, but to do that in two weight classes is the stuff of legends. Very, very few champions in all of MMA can even talk about that right now, but for Jose Aldo, it’s a very real possibility. UFC 169 ladies and gentleman, a card headlined by featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo and the return of Dominick Cruz and his bantamweight title unification bout with Renan Barao. Mark. The. Date.

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