Dana White all but guaranteed that he would make a UFC champion vs. champion bout between lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and featherweight champion Jose Aldo following Aldo's dominant victory over Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169. Aldo has dominated the division and is really without any fresh, interesting challengers at this point. Pettis hasn't yet defended his belt since winning it from Ben Henderson, but that isn't stopping him from being interested in the bout.
"Of course I want that fight," Pettis told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie on Sunday. "Why wouldn’t I?"
Pettis insists he can be ready by then, and that a bout with Aldo makes sense, even if he hasn’t defended his lightweight title yet.
"Who else is there?" Pettis said. "(Former champion) Benson Henderson just beat (Josh) Thomson, who was supposed to be the top contender. Gilbert Melendez already had his title shot. Why not (Aldo)?"
Pettis and Aldo are exciting, diverse and uniquely improvisational figters who make for a phenomenal bout on paper.
And Pettis is right, there's no clear cut contender who gets screwed in this scenario. TJ Grant was supposed to have a title shot but a concussion bounced him, opening the door to Pettis' eventual title win. Grant needs to get healthy and get a win or two before people will put him back in the title picture. No one is dying for Henderson vs. Pettis 3 and Melendez doesn't have a "sure thing" claim to a shot that would make an Aldo shot offensive.
Aside from that it's the rare champ vs. champ bout the UFC can actually make, White may also be looking to add a little spark to Aldo's career. His recent comments to ESPN seem to indicate that he's not thrilled with the featherweight king:
"The thing about Jose Aldo that drives me crazy is the kid has all the talent in the world," White told ESPN.com. "He’s explosive, fast. He can do anything but he just lays back and doesn’t let anything go.
"When you talk about being the pound-for-pound best in the world, you can’t go five rounds with guys that it looks like you can defeat them in the second round. That’s what Aldo has a habit of doing."
White is asking an awful lot of Aldo, who I would argue is fighting better right now than he's ever been.
But maybe the challenge will bring out even better things from him.