There is only one conclusion the MMA world can draw from Jose Aldo's dominant, destructive performance at UFC 142 over UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes: It's time to move up to the lightweight division.
Long considered one of mixed martial arts' pound-for-pound best, the Brazilian fighter extended his winning streak to 14 with a furious knee to Mendes' chin upon breaking out from a clinch against the cage. Several unanswered punches later, and the argument that there are no legitimate challengers left for Aldo in the featherweight division gained considerably more weight.
Extending from his time in the WEC, where he also held the company's featherweight title, Aldo has decimated a who's who of the division. With a hit-list including Cub Swanson, Manny Gamburyan, Mark Hominick, Mike Brown, Kenny Florian, Urijah Faber and now Mendes, the 25-year-old phenom has decisively beaten every challenger in his way, and now is the time for himself and his management to seriously consider moving up to the 155-pound division.
At 5'7" and 145 pounds, he's no smaller than UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. In fact, Aldo is an inch taller, younger, arguably faster and decisively more dangerous than his pound-for-pound peer. Considering Edgar's own successes in the the division, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Aldo could find similar successes if he were to take the time to add on the necessary weight and begin fighting at the heavier weight class. Summarily, there's no reason Aldo couldn't do to the likes of Maynard and Penn what Edgar did. Defeating Florian in August was a testament to where Aldo sits in the MMA landscape, and at only 25, his potential is only being scratched.
At this point, presuming Edgar passes the extremely tough test in front of him in Ben Henderson, a super fight is the only thing that makes sense for Aldo. Considering there are no real, clear-cut challengers at 155-pounds after Henderson either, a fight between Edgar and Aldo is the next logical step and promises fireworks for as long as the speedy competitors are in the cage.
With Aldo having decimated the featherweight division, he needs to move up and fight the lightweight division's best to truly test himself as a fighter. Despite there being many strong wrestlers in the division, considering the takedown defence he displayed against Mendes, there's no reason Aldo can't dominate a second weight class before even entering his late twenties.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com