Recently promoted UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo said on Monday that he is going to be making the first defense of the belt in February against the new interim champ.
With the UFC running short of available title fights, which is usually a staple of most of its pay-per-view events, UFC officials appear to be pushing for Aldo to face Max Holloway at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn.
Aldo was recently had the interim removed from his featherweight champion designation, when the promotion needed a big fight to headline UFC 206 this past weekend in Toronto. When light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier fell of the card due to injury, the promotion forced Conor McGregor to relinquish the featherweight title, elevated Aldo to champion, and moved UFC 206 co-main eventers Holloway and Anthony Pettis to headlining status in a battle for the interim designation. Holloway won the fight, and a shot at Aldo.
That shot apparently will come at UFC 208, at least, according to Aldo, who spoke with Brazilian media on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.
“I already knew that Conor would not fight anymore in my division. About fighting in February, I already knew it, I just didn’t know with who. Would it be [Holloway] or Pettis, everybody knew that. And it is going to happen on Feb. 11. We had a deal, but we couldn’t tell anyone,” said Aldo, according to AgFight.
Fox Sports’ Damon Martin tweeted that Holloway indicated he was unaware of the development, so it is likely that the negotiations have no yet been finalized. Although Aldo was sure of his participation, he seemed to indicate that his camp hasn’t yet received a response confirming Holloway’s participation.
“The day is right. I will fight that day, against him or anybody else. If he doesn’t show up, it is his problem. Everybody has family, and who wants to be a champion cannot ask for date. I fought and am used to training on New Year’s and Christmas. So it is easy to see who is going to show up,” Aldo continued.
“There is no place do hide. There is enough cowardice with Conor, who hasn’t fought in the division for more than a year. [Holloway’s] was a tough fight, but Pettis is in descending, so I was expecting that Holloway could win.”
It’s a fight that makes sense to headline UFC 208, as the promotion is running short on championship fights for its upcoming pay-per-views.
The UFC tried to get Cris “Cyborg” Justino to fight for a new women’s featherweight championship in Brooklyn. The Invicta FC champion said that due to a traumatic weight cut in September that put her in a dangerous situation in regard to her health, she wouldn’t be fight again until March.
If the fight between Aldo and Holloway is made official, it should be an exciting headliner for the promotion’s third event in the state of New York inside of a three-month span.