UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo‘s weight cut might be considerably easier next time out if he’s successful this weekend at UFC 169.
UFC President Dana White on Monday told reporters he thinks Aldo (23-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who meets Ricardo Lamas in Saturday’s pay-per-view headliner, should move up to 155 pounds to challenge Anthony Pettis (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) when the lightweight champ returns from an injury layoff.
“The timing has to be right,” White said. “If he defends his title this weekend, Pettis comes back, Pettis fights his fight, and then Aldo.”
UFC 169 takes place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The event’s main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Now, who’s next for Pettis? White already has said it’s likely not Benson Henderson, who lost his UFC belt to the current champ in a rematch at this past August’s UFC 164 event. And it’s not Josh Thomson, who lost his title shot when Henderson narrowly outpointed him at this past Saturday’s UFC on FOX 10 event.
Could it be Nate Diaz, whose losses to Henderson and Thomson are offset by a gift of promotional gab? Diaz, who recently made a stink by turning down an offer to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 170, took to Twitter to rant about Henderson vs. Thomson and take a few shots at Pettis, who already has said he would fight Diaz to shut his mouth.
White, though, won’t give the OK.
“It makes no sense,” White said. “Nate Diaz doesn’t get a title shot.”
So, what comes next for Pettis in the lead-up to Aldo? White doesn’t know.
“It doesn’t even matter because he’s not ready yet, so we’ll see how this thing plays out,” he said. “The landscape changes month to month.”
Pressed for suitable names, the UFC executive struggled to come up with a list. But T.J. Grant, who earned a title shot only to see it scratched by a concussion suffered in training, is not on it.
“T.J. Grant should probably be taken off the rankings,” White said.
Pettis, who injured his knee taking the belt from Henderson, this week told “UFC Tonight” that his rehabilitation is going well and he could be ready to fight by July. If that’s the case, and Aldo is victorious on Saturday, it would appear that might shorten the path to a potential meeting.
Aldo, for one, already has sounded off about a potential fight with Pettis after some posturing between his manager, Andre Pederneiras, and White.
But, as White would caution, the lightweight landscape is always shifting.
For more on UFC 169, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.