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Jeremy Stephens would love to fight Jose Aldo – just not in November (and understandably so)


EDMONTON – Veteran UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens just finished his 26th octagon appearance and snapped a two-fight losing skid.

He feels a raise is due.

“My kids are growing, and I want the best for them and the best for me and to set them up in the future,” Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) told MMAjunkie after Saturday’s UFC 215 event, where he outpointed former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) in the pay-per-view opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “I’m just now starting to make good money in this sport, and it’s been a long time.

“I feel like I should be making a (expletive) more money, especially since I just beat a guy who makes probably double what I do.”

That guy, of course, expertly used the free-agency process to win a lucrative new deal with the UFC. Stephens is most known for his work in the UFC octagon, so his opportunity to leverage one promotion against the other was not as strong as Melendez’s.

Still, with his contract nearing completion, Stephens said it’s time to get a bump.

“I’m definitely going to be begging for some more money and putting on these performances (so) I can retire nice,” Stephens said. “I definitely want to retire and do some FOX analysis (work). But right now I’m a fighter, and I want to make as much money as I can.”

Stephens has a good idea of an opponent that might earn him a bigger paycheck – ex-champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC). He noted the Brazilian’s desire to fight in November after the loss of his belt to Max Holloway earlier this year.

While that timeline doesn’t exactly jibe with Stephens’ schedule – he did, after all, put off his wedding for UFC 215 – a matchup later this year sounds perfect.

“I would love that fight, but November, it’s a little tight on my schedule, and I can’t push two things back,” Stephens said. “So December or January, something like that – that would be something I’d definitely look forward to. He’s a banger and a class act.

“I think me and him could get it on and give the fans a great showing. But I just can’t do November. I can’t keep pushing things back.”

To hear more from Stephens, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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