On Saturday night Jose Aldo will step into the Octagon as a bantamweight for the very first time, as he is set to take on former contender Marlon Moraes. Aldo, the longest reigning featherweight champion in UFC history, is looking to become the eighth fighter in UFC to hold a championship belt in two different divisions. He has little left to prove following a glittering career which included two runs with the UFC featherweight championship, amassing a total of seven successful defences.
The fight between Aldo and Moraes this weekend is set to shape the future of the bantamweight division. If Aldo can pick up the victory over a man that has terrorised the division for the past two years, barring a loss in his last fight against champion Henry Cejudo, it will immediately vault the former champion up into the title picture.
Before his decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski, Aldo was riding a two fight winning streak, for which he had won a performance of the night bonus both times. While many expected Aldo would decide to move up a division and begin to challenge at lightweight, he has opted to drop down into the 135lbs category and try his hand at Cejudo.
Aldo has the skills
Aldo certainly has the skills to make it in this division, other than his loss to Volkanovski (who is an up and coming contender) Aldo’s only losses in the past 14 years came against Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, neither fighter is a name to be sniffed at.
Aldo would be hoping to line up a title fight with ‘Triple C’ Henry Cejudo, who is currently taking some time to recover from shoulder surgery. There are a couple of complications to this however. Firstly, upon his return Dana White wants Cejudo to defend the flyweight title before then going on to defend the bantamweight title. The second issue is that Cejudo has threatened to hang up his gloves if the UFC doesn’t start forking out the cash to get him back into the Octagon.
If Aldo does make it past Moraes, which as this point is certainly still a big if, Cejudo deciding to step away from the sport could certainly be a big advantage for him. Rather than having to fight Cejudo for the belt, he could well end up taking on one of the other top contenders for the vacant strap. By no means an easy fight, however Cejudo is one of the toughest fights in the UFC currently.
For Aldo, winning a belt in a second division could help to solidify his legacy in the sport. He is a fighter that has suffered massively in the past few years, following his loss to McGregor, with fans seeming to forget the dominance that he displayed in the years leading up to that defeat. For Aldo, this is a chance to prove to the doubters that he is still one of the best fighters in the world, but also to remind them that he will be leaving this sport with one hell of a legacy and securing a place in the UFC Hall of Fame.