Jose Aldo sees several challengers in the 145-pound ranks. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
With Anthony Pettis scheduled to coach against Gilbert Melendez on an upcoming edition of “The Ultimate Fighter,” UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo has turned his focus away from a Pettis super-fight and back to his own division.
Aldo spoke with fans Saturday during a Q&A in Natal, Brazil, and even discussed who he feels should next challenge for his 145-pound belt.
“I was thinking about facing pettis, because it was a fight that everybody wanted to see, including he and I, the fans and the organization. Unfortunately, it cannot happen,” Aldo said. “So, I’m focused again on my division and I think I should face Chad Mendes. He’s a guy I’ve already fought, but I must respect him, stay humble and keep my feet on the ground. I will train hard to win one more time.”
Aldo and Mendes squared off in January 2012, when “Scarface” downed the challenger from Team Alpha Male with a first-round, knee-strike knockout. The Brazilian champion has been paying attention to the challengers in his division since then, and he knows Mendes isn’t the only contender waiting in the wings.
“Chad Mendes is first in line,” Aldo noted. “Cub Swanson, who is a guy I already beat, is second, and he’s evolving a lot. There’s also Jeremy Stephens, who is very good. There’s an Irishman [Conor McGregor] who has also been talking a lot and could be a good fight. And also, there’s Dustin Poirier. I think those are the top five at the moment.”