The UFC has booked a Bantamweight title fight featuring defending champion Henry Cejudo taking on featherweight legend Jose Aldo. My question is, why?
The bantamweight division is not lacking legitimate contenders, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan respectively have legitimate claims for title shots, and both should be rightfully pissed off with this fight announcement!
Sterling (18-3) is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak whereas fellow bantamweight Yan (14-1) is in the midst of a 6 fight winning streak inside the octagon since joining the promotion, and in his last 9 fights is undefeated.
Aldo (28-6) is 2-4 in his last 6 fights including his most recent loss in his last appearance against Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut last December and is being gifted an opportunity at history to become a multi-divisional champion.
Comparing the resumes at bantamweight, Aldo should be the one on the outside looking in rather than Sterling or Yan.
This event will take place in Brazil where Aldo obviously will be a fan favorite in his home country against the very cringey champion in Cejudo.
There is no legitimate equation in MMA mathematics that I have been able to use to figure out how this fight was even booked.
Cejudo asked it, and Aldo is obviously willing, so the UFC booked it. Yes, it really is just that simple.
It feels like the champ is avoiding the real meat and potatoes of his division and searching for fights against fighters that he believes he can beat because they are not in their prime. I feel that is the reason he asked for Aldo rather than Sterling or Yan. Shouldn’t a champion want the biggest challenges? Shouldn’t they be mandated to have to fight the number 1, or at the very least number 2 ranked fighter in their division? It doesn’t seem to me that the champion has champion aspirations in mind
One person I was discussing this match up with said it’s obvious because Aldo is a huge draw, especially in Brazil. My response was he has never been a big pay per view attraction, and you can go back and look at the numbers you’ll see that I’m right and since the UFC and ESPN have partnered up, there is no real concern about pay per view numbers anymore because the UFC gets a guaranteed payment for 300k buys even if only 100k buys occur. In reality that equals 600k in volume compared to the old PPV model because they’re split from ESPN goes all to them there is no provider to split with. In other words, this fight wasn’t booked for financial reasons from where I’m watching.
Could the UFC be booking this fight in a sense to apologize to Aldo who should have been given an immediate rematch after getting knocked out by Conor McGregor in 14 seconds? The UFC has made up for mistakes in the past by rewarding fighters with opportunities, and this certainly could be one of those instances. However, even if that is the reason, it’s still not a justifiable reason to overlook the top contenders in lieu of an athlete that has made one appearance in that division and lost.
I am going to watch this fight and I believe Aldo has a legitimate chance to win, and if he does I will be happy for him. With that being said I’d be a lot happier if a true contender who had earned a shot at the title was making the trip to Brazil in May.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.