UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo could find himself in a second superfight later this year, with news former WEC lightweight champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis wants to follow Frankie Edgar's lead with a drop to 145 pounds (65.77kg).
Aldo and Edgar waged a brutal war in their featherweight title bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas yesterday, with Aldo eventually prevailing via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
Initially, the post-fight talk centred on the scoring; with many experts surprised that Aldo was given four rounds by two of the judges. UFC light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen, commentating for the host broadcaster, said he believed Edgar won the fight after taking rounds three, four and five, while others gave at least the final two rounds to Edgar.
However, Edgar may have to wait in line for another crack at Aldo, with UFC president Dana White revealing Pettis was in line for a title shot.
"Something interesting happened about 10 minutes ago. Someone texted me and said 'I want to fight him really bad', so I've got to talk to him and talk to them and see what happens," an initially evasive White told reporters in the post-fight press conference.
When pressed to reveal the identity of the challenger, White said: "Wouldn't you like to know? It would be very interesting. Anthony Pettis — Anthony Pettis said he wanted to move to 145 [pounds] and fight Jose Aldo. He just texted me 10 minutes ago. He will move to 145. So we'll see what happens."
Pettis was the reigning WEC lightweight champion when the organisation was purchased and folded into the UFC. He won the belt with a highlight reel knock-out over Benson Henderson, the current UFC lightweight champion who's defeated Edgar in his past two bouts in the Octagon.
Upon joining the UFC, Pettis was considered next in line for a shot at then-lightweight champion Edgar. However, a shock loss to Clay Guida derailed that bid, forcing him to wait in line behind the likes of Henderson, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez.
He's been quick to get his career back on track with two victories since — dual knockout of the night performances against highly-rated lightweight contenders Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
When quizzed about a potential match-up against Pettis, Aldo suggested Pettis remain at lightweight, where he's on track to challenge for the title. Henderson will next defend the belt against longtime Strikeforce lightweight titleholder Melendez at UFC on Fox in San Jose in April, but it has been acknowledged that Pettis is next in line.
"It's up to Dana, but it's an interesting fight," Aldo said. "I train to fight the best. I respect them all. I think Pettis is close to a title shot in his own division."
While it's back to the drawing board for Edgar, who suffered his third consecutive loss in a UFC title bout, White was quick to pay tribute to the New Jersey native.
"I think the scoring was way off and it should've been a lot closer than that, but it's all on how you judge that third round. But I do think Aldo won the fight ... but you've got to love and respect that kid [Edgar]," White said.
"Not to mention the fact that he's like the Arturo Gatti of this sport. The first two rounds, you're like there's no way that this kid is even going to be in this fight ... and then he starts to find his range in the third round, starts to land — everything starts to turn."
While the UFC 156 main event went to script, with Aldo defeating Edgar, there were some major boilovers in Las Vegas yesterday. Former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans likely forfeited a chance to challenge Anderson Silva for the middleweight crown after losing a unanimous decision to Antônio Rogério Nogueira, while Alistair Overeem — considered the number one contender at heavyweight — was brutally knocked out in the third round by Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
UFC 156 results
Featherweight championship bout: Jose Aldo (Brazil) defeated Frankie Edgar (USA) via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
Light heavyweight: Antônio Rogério Nogueira (Brazil) defeated Rashad Evans (USA) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Heavyweight: Antonio Silva (Brazil) defeated Alistair Overeem (Netherlands) via KO (punches) at 0:25 of round three.
Welterweight: Demian Maia (Brazil) defeated Jon Fitch (USA) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez (USA) defeated Ian McCall (USA) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Lightweight: Evan Dunham (USA) defeated Gleison Tibau (Brazil) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Welterweight: Tyron Woodley (USA) defeated Jay Hieron (USA) via KO (punches) at 0:36 of round one.
Lightweight: Bobby Green (USA) defeated Jacob Volkmann (USA) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:25 of round three.
Lightweight: Isaac Vallie-Flagg (USA) defeated Yves Edwards (Bahamas) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Catchweight (139.5lb): Dustin Kimura (USA) defeated Chico Camus (USA) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:50 of round three.
Bantamweight: Francisco Rivera (USA) defeated Edwin Figueroa (USA) via TKO (punches) at 4:20 of round two.