With the UFC featherweight title picture out of focus until champ Jose Aldo heals from a nagging shoulder injury, a question that was recently brought up was what happens if Diego Nunes beats Kenny Florian Saturday night at UFC 131? Surely, he won’t fight a teammate, since that’s a faux pas in Brazil, right?
According to Aldo’s longtime trainer and Nova Uniao founder Andre Pederneiras, “Everyone from Nova Uniao knows that if they have to fight against each other, they will.”
It’s no secret that the UFC has given Florian his fair share of title shots and that his recent move to 145 was likely prompted by a promise of a future crack at UFC featherweight gold, but Aldo says he shouldn’t sleep on an undefeated prospect like Nunes.
“I believe Diego will defeat Kenny Florian,” Aldo told Sherdog recently. “Diego is well-prepared. He has ‘blood in his eyes’ for that fight and he’s ready to reach the top of the division. He has enough talent to fight for the title.”
As far as facing Nunes in the future if he still holds the strap, Aldo says it’s a possibility if the UFC makes it worth their while.
“If that [title fight] happens with us, we’ll sit and talk to see how we deal with that,” Aldo explains. “I don’t know if I would fight him. It depends more on our agents and on [Nova Uniao leader] Andre Pederneiras. If the UFC wants to see that, they’ll have to pay real good money.”
The fighter who has next dibs on Aldo could miss out on the opportunity if he loses the bout he took in the meantime against submission wiz Rani Yahya.
Not satisfied with sitting on the sidelines waiting for Aldo to heal up, Chad Mendes chose instead to face Yahya at UFC 133 in August. Although his recent 1-2 skid doesn’t show it, Yahya is a dangerous fighter having beaten the likes of Mike Brown, Mark Hominick and Eddie Wineland.
Aldo says he isn’t exactly sure why Mendes took the high-risk fight, but noted he’s rooting for his fellow countryman in Philadelphia.
“I don’t know exactly what Chad’s thing was. He was set to be my next challenger, and I understand his decision not to wait for me. We didn’t sign anything, so he was free,” explained Aldo. “I believe it will be a huge fight, but as a Brazilian, I will cheer for Rani.”
After aggravating the lingering shoulder injury in training, Aldo took the advice of his doctor who told him that rest would be the best medicine for the wonky joint and has stayed out of the gym. He anticipates a return to training in the next two to three weeks.
“My recovery is going great,” Aldo affirmed. “I haven’t done anything but physical therapy for the last four weeks and I’m really looking forward to training again. I miss it a lot. Next week, my doctors and physiotherapists will talk to me and probably release me. Obviously I won’t return at 100 percent. I’ll maybe need around two more weeks to be completely recovered and training hard.”