UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has long flirted with the idea of moving up to lightweight and trying to add another title to his resume.
In the past, he has always deferred to his coaches and trainers, who would advise him on whether or not the move was the right thing for his career.
The trajectory toward a move to 155 pounds seemed to take a sharp turn earlier this year, however, when Aldo was paired up against former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the main event of UFC 163.
Pettis had never fought at featherweight but accepted the challenge when Aldo was sitting without an opponent following his win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156. Aldo took a bit of an exception to Pettis' request for an immediate title shot, so he decided to make the same demand.
Back in June when Aldo was still facing Pettis (who later dropped out due to injury), he told MMAJunkie.com that part of the provisions he added in to accept the fight against the former WEC fighter was that he should get an immediate title shot at lightweight with a win.
If everyone is cutting in line, I might as well do the same thing. I'd like to move up one division and have an immediate title shot. We took the Pettis fight with this in mind. It's [set]. Exactly. We put that in (the contract). It's black and white. When we accepted the Pettis fight, we brought that up right away. Since everyone wants to cut into our line, let's cut into theirs too.
It seems a lot has changed in just over one month's time.
Pettis has been replaced by featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung aka "The Korean Zombie," and it seems Aldo's demands have diminished as well.
Speaking to Bleacher Report on Thursday via a UFC 163 media conference call, Aldo backed off his earlier demands to move to lightweight after this event. He now says it's up in the air in terms of what comes next for him.
"It's hard to say right now. I want to take one step at a time," Aldo said. "I want to focus on the fight I have on August 3 against The Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) and we'll see what happens from there. If I'm going to make the move or if I'm going to stay at my weight class. We'll have to take one step at a time."
Aldo has never been a fighter who talked past his upcoming fight, so this may just be a bit of respectful posturing to hold off the lightweight questions until after UFC 163.
While moving to lightweight may still be on the table, it's not something Aldo will discuss until at least his fight on August 3 with Jung is in the books.
"I can't try to take too big of a step and I've got to focus on my next opponent to be able to make a decision," Aldo stated. "I respect my opponent and I can't overlook him."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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