Following Jose Aldo‘s unanimous decision victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, top lightweight contender Anthony Pettis reportedly sent a text message to UFC president Dana White saying that he’d like to drop to 145 and challenge for Aldo’s belt — and that was all it took to set up the UFC’s next featherweight title fight. White confirmed to USA Today Sports/MMAJunkie that Aldo will indeed make his next title defense against Pettis at an event on August 3rd.
“Aldo is a tremendous fighter,” said the stunt-kicking Roufusport product. “I have all the respect in the world for his skills. I just want to be one of the best in the world, and the only way to do that is to beat the best…I wouldn’t call him out if I didn’t really feel confident I could beat him…It’s a superfight, and I want to be a part of these fights.”
Of course, timing was clearly another consideration in requesting the matchup. Though Pettis’s recent destruction of Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 6 arguably made him the rightful #1 contender in the lightweight division, Gilbert Melendez already has dibs on the next shot at Benson Henderson’s 155-pound belt. And given how prone the lightweight division is to immediate rematches, Pettis could be waiting a long time for his opportunity. One title fight is just as good as another, right?
“Showtime” has won his last three-fights in the UFC, and will be the second fighter (after Edgar) to drop from lightweight directly into a featherweight title shot — a trend that probably doesn’t sit too well with 145-pound contenders like Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung. But again, timing is everything in the UFC, and Aldo vs. Pettis is a fan-friendly matchup that can be set up and promoted right now.
Aldo is currently riding a 15-fight win streak, with his last four earned in the Octagon. No other fights have been booked for the yet-unnumbered 8/3 show; we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, please shoot us your early predictions for Aldo vs. Pettis.