Jose Aldo to Bantamweight, Good or Bad?
It has been a couple of days since Jose Aldo announced he would now be campaigning in the UFC's 135lb division, and to say it was a shock would be a massive understatement. It is no secret that Aldo has previously struggled to make the featherweight limit and the logical weight class change would've been to move up to lightweight. The former two-time featherweight champion is now in the twilight of his career, having dropped a decision to Alex Volkanovski last time out. Aldo (28-5), once considered the p4p number one fighter in the world is 3-3 in his last 6 fights since his infamous knockout defeat to Conor McGregor. There are many questions that the Brazilian will need to answer. Personally, I think the move down in weight is an incredibly bad decision with the large talent pool that is in the 135lb division. His bantamweight debut has been scheduled for December 14 at UFC 245 against the #1 ranked Marlon Moraes, in what can only be described as a baptism of fire.
This is a must-win fight for both fighters, with Moraes looking to get back into title contention himself and has all the makings of a three round war. Moraes (22-6-1) was unsuccessful in his challenge for the vacant title against Henry Cejudo in his last fight, ending an incredible streak of 16 wins in his 18 fights prior to the fight. I believe that the reason for Aldo's sudden weight change is the limited options of opponents at 145lbs. Defeats to Max Holloway, twice, and Volkanovski - who fight each other for the featherweight title on the same card- has left him feeling like the route back to the title he previously held is blocked. Meaning, he needs to take a detour in order to try and regain UFC gold. Even if Aldo gets through the tough test of Moraes; the likes of Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, Cory Sandhagen and the champ, Cejudo will all be watching the Brazilian with a keen interest. The younger, fresher up-and-comers in the division circling like sharks, waiting for that drop of blood from the battle-hardened veteran. Not to mention the continuous strain of the gruelling weight cuts to make 135lbs if this is going to be a long-term move. At 33 years of age, and being at the pinnacle of his game for almost over a decade, the signs of wear and tear are becoming ever more visible and the toll on his body apparent. All these could be a massive factor in Jose's performance levels going forward. A factor that UFC President Dana White has been vocal in voicing his concern about. In my opinion, I can't really see Aldo being able to maintain the high calibre of performances that he once was entertained us with, this could very well pan out much like BJ Penn's disastrous attempt to move down, when he decided on competing at featherweight. We will just have to wait and see, but we do so expectantly and with intrigue as the fascinating career of the MMA legend continues.