Sometimes someone says the exact thing you want to hear. For many fans of mixed martial arts, UFC president Dana White was that person on Saturday night.
At the UFC 169 post-fight press conference, White had a future fight between current UFC champions Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis signed, sealed and delivered. Unfortunately, in the haste to really, really want to believe, many are ignoring something that was said by Aldo.
Aldo is the only featherweight champion the UFC has had since the division was established by the promotion in 2010. Aldo, the WEC featherweight champion at that time was transitioned to UFC champion when the WEC was absorbed into the UFC. Aldo received the UFC title on November 20, 2010. On Saturday, he defended that title for the sixth time with a unanimous decision win over Ricardo Lamas.
After defeating Lamas, Aldo was asked about moving up to lightweight and facing that divison's champion, Anthony Pettis. Aldo, through an interpreter responded, "I'm ready. I've always been ready. I want the fight. Everybody wants the fight. If the fight was tonight, I would fight him. It's up to the UFC and Dana."
Hearing those words, White jumped into the conversation, saying, "I like that fight. I like Jose at ‘55. I think the weight cut is much easier for him, but again I'm going to throw it back at him. At the end of the day, he's the king at ‘45. If he wants to move to ‘55, it's a huge fight with Pettis."
When Aldo picked up the thread and said, "We are ready to fight, so let's get the fight," White wasted no time in stating, "Sounds like we got a fight. That was easy. Got that deal done. One more thing I don't have to deal with on Monday."
A short time later White said that he had received a call from Pettis. That call, according to White was Pettis saying that he "absolutely wanted the fight."
The call from Pettis presumably locked up the fight, but did it really?
Ignored in all of this talk of a lightweight contest between Aldo and Pettis was the fact that Aldo didn't seem all that interested in giving up that piece of UFC gold that declares him the promotion's featherweight champion. When asked if he would give up the title to make the move, Aldo was non-committal, "I'm not saying that. We have to see. I have to evaluate, I have to see what's best for both fighters so I can't answer that question."
On the other hand, White did not hesitate to answer that question, "The answer is yes," White said. "He would vacate the title and fight for the title at 55. If he didn't win the title he could go back to 45 and challenge for the title again if he wanted to do that. Or, he wins the 55 pound title and two other guys fight for the 45 pound title."
Aldo's "I can't answer that question" response clearly indicates that White will have some work to do on Monday. He's going to have to convince Aldo that it is in his best interest to relinquish a title he's held since November 2009, if you combine his run in the WEC with his UFC reign. That may not be a slam-dunk conversation, especially if Aldo does not have a desire to permanently move to 155 pounds.
Sorry, but the reality in this situation is that the deal for an Aldo versus Pettis fight at 155 pounds is far from being written in stone.