Where's Aldo?

Photo credit: Bloody Elbow By: Bryce  In the aftermath of UFC 212's main event, two questions were left looming: who is Max Holloway going to fight to defend his newly won belt, and what's next for the man he defeated? It's hard to think of a time when Aldo was not seen as one of the pound for pound best, let alone second best in his own division. Before UFC 194, he was the division's lone champion, fighting all comers and besting them all. From strikers like Chang Sung Jung to grapplers like Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar, he has fought and beaten the best the division had to offer. He is regarded as both one of the greatest featherweight and one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.  Coming into December of 2015, Aldo was seen as indestructible. Every time he stepped in the octagon, he was clear minded and orchestrated his game plans to perfect success. In the press conferences leading up to his McGregor fight, however, he seemed to have been rattled by the Irish superstar. Many assumed it would not affect him in the fight, but 13 seconds in, it was over. His decade-long winning streak was over and his belt was gone.  Photo credit: Bleacher Report He has since gone on to say it was a fluke performance and it would not happen in a rematch. It seemed that was true after his winning of the interim belt at UFC 200. After the debauchery between UFC 205 and 206, Aldo was given the real featherweight title after McGregor was stripped of it and all seemed well in the world. Aldo was again 145 champion and was set to face red hot Max Holloway to unify the belt.  Many, including myself, thought this was THE fight to make in the division. The two matched up perfectly for a FOTN/FOTY bout. And this past Saturday, fans were treated to a great bout that led to Jose Aldo's second UFC loss and a new era in the Featherweight division, the "Blessed Era." Holloway said leading up to this fight he wants the best Aldo so no excuses could be made, and I think that that was the case Saturday night. Aldo had both the experience to deliver, was healthy on fight day, and had a country behind him supporting him in the Rio Olympic Arena. He just was not the better man that night.  So this brings us to now, where Aldo has to consider his options. One option is to go up in weight to chase gold and McGregor at 155. He would certainly have the speed advantage against nearly every Lightweight, and he would also have less weight go cut. I think this would also give him a new sense of motivation because it is a fresh new division of fighters he has yet to decimate.  The other obvious option is to return at 145 to make yet another run at gold and potentially have a rematch with Holloway to seriously put him in the conversation of GOAT. The movie script could really write itself and if he can prove he's still the same Jose Aldo that destroyed the division for years, I and countless other fans would love to see that rematch.  I think the move to Lightweight makes sense if he wants to keep challenging himself. I see him as a top 5 fighter in the division as soon as he makes that jump, and I think if the UFC offers him a guy like Barboza, it would leave fans salivating for the potential showdown between some of the fastest and explosive strikers in the sport. At the same time, in a recent Instagram post, he said he will be back, so he may have a new fire lit under him to reclaim 145 gold.  Photo credit: BJPenn.com Whatever Aldo decides on doing, whether moving up in weight or beginning his return to the top of 145, there is no doubt he is a legend and all-time great in the sport. 

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