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Dana White gives 'green light' for Jose Aldo to move to lightweight and face Anthony Pettis

UFC president Dana White feels the time may be right for Jose Aldo to make the move to 155 pounds and face UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. 'It would be awesome,' says White

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

If Jose Aldo was waiting for UFC president Dana White to approve his move from the featherweight division to the lightweight division, his wait is officially over.

On Thursday, White held court with select members of the media and emphatically stated, "Green light" when he was told that Aldo (23-1) was just waiting for the green light to make the move up to the 155 pound division.

Aldo has toyed with the move to 155 pounds. When you couple that with the fact that he has also stated that he wants to fight current UFC lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis, it looks like the perfect conditions are present for Aldo to make the move.

A couple things are holding up that move. First, Aldo is the current UFC featherweight champion, a title that he will defend on Saturday against Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event of UFC 169. Second, Aldo's coach André Pederneiras has been reluctant to give his green light for Aldo to move up from 145 pounds.

Aldo has held the WEC / UFC featherweight title since November 2009 when he stopped Mike Brown at WEC 44. He defended that title twice before the WEC was absorbed into the UFC and he transitioned to UFC champion. Since becoming UFC champion, Aldo has defended the belt five times.

One of the reasons White may want to see Aldo move up to lightweight is that things are a little murky at the top of that division. Champion Anthony Pettis is on the mend from knee surgery. No. 1 ranked Benson Henderson recently lost to Pettis by first round submission. No. 2 ranked Gilbert Melendez is working on inking a new deal and has a recent loss to Henderson. No. 3 ranked TJ Grant is recovering from a concussion he suffered while training last summer. No. 4 ranked Josh Thomson just lost to Henderson on January 25. After Thomson you would be hard pressed to call any other 155-pounder a legitimate title contender.

You could make that claim for Aldo.

If Aldo defeats Lamas at UFC 169, White said the move to lightweight would be simple for Aldo, "I think if he makes the move to 55 he should do it, and drop the belt. If he doesn't like being at 55 he can drop back down and fight for the title again."

When asked if he would be okay with Aldo just dropping the featherweight belt he said that would not be an issue, "If you're a guy like him, he's gone undefeated for eight years, he's had the belt forever, he's fought everybody, and if he wants to, he should just drop the belt, move up to 55 and take on Pettis, it would be awesome."

There will be a lot of eyes and ears on Jose Aldo's post-fight speech if he defeats Lamas on Saturday night in Newark, NJ.