Jose Aldo hasn’t lost a fight since 2005. In a sport where anything can happen at any time, that is a truly remarkable feat.
Tonight Aldo puts his UFC Featherweight Title on the line against Ricardo Lamas in the co main event of UFC 169. It has the potential to be his toughest match up, as Lamas has been petitioning for this fight for a while and is surely to be as fired up as ever to take down the king. As the past 9 years have shown, that is no easy task.
Word from New Jersey is that top contender Cub Swanson was brought to the event, and is next in line for a title shot. Aldo and Swanson have met before, in the WEC, with Aldo catching Swanson with a dramatic double knee, only 7 seconds into the fight. While Aldo has continued to tear up the featherweight division, becoming the first champion of the weight class in the UFC, Swanson has gone on his own run, and is without a doubt a different fighter now.
You also can’t talk about the Featherweight division without talking about the rise of Chad Mendes, who has absolutely destroyed everyone in his path since getting defeated by Aldo himself. To me, Mendes looks like the guy most ready to hand the champion his first defeat in a long time.
The question is, will Aldo make it to these two top challengers?
Ricardo Lamas does not have the name recognition of a guy like Urijah Faber. He could probably walk down the streets of any town USA and not get recognized. Even for UFC fans, the name is one they have to search their memories for. However, Lamas is no joke. He’s not a made up contender. He has wins over Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. He’s got decisive knock out power and has shown in his win over Swanson that he can submit a top level fighter. Lamas is of Mexican and Cuban heritage, and a win over Aldo would put him up there with the UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has a draw within the Latino fan base, something the UFC is hoping for.
The fact of the matter is, Jose Aldo has been one of the most dominant fighters on the planet for the past 10 years – and he’s only 27 years old. What lies next for the champion? A move up to lightweight? A rematch with a revamped Swanson or the machine that is Mendes?
For Aldo, he can’t dwell on those questions, because if he does – Ricardo Lamas might just walk out of New Jersey with his title.