UFC president Dana White explained why Jose Aldo received the vacant title fight against Petr Yan at UFC 251 over the other top contenders at 135lbs.
Despite coming off of back-to-back losses to Alexander Volkanovski and Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut, the UFC is giving Aldo the title shot against Yan after Henry Cejudo vacated it last month. The Aldo vs. Yan fight has been met with widespread criticism from fans and media, who do not believe that Aldo has earned the opportunity over Aljamain Sterling and some of the other top contenders in the bantamweight division.
Speaking to the media ahead of UFC on ESPN 11, the media asked White why the UFC decided to give Aldo the title shot, and the UFC bossman explained why.
“I’ve pretty much said a million times how I feel about that (fight with Moraes). A lot of people felt he won the fight. Jose Aldo’s one of the toughest (fighters). That’s the kid that Cejudo wanted. He was next in line for the title shot, how do we go back now and tell him Cejudo retired, so you don’t get the fight?” White said.
“If people disagree with that fight, you know my point of view on that, don’t watch it. Don’t watch the fight if you don’t like it. Aldo’s been around forever, the guy’s a warrior, and to say Aldo doesn’t deserve anything is ridiculous.
For Aldo, the fight against Yan represents the opportunity to become one of the rare two-division champions in UFC history. Aldo was, of course, the long-time UFC featherweight champion and he will no doubt be elected into the UFC Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done. But if he truly wants to cement his legacy as one of the GOATs of MMA, then winning a second belt would be massive for him. As well, White jokes that Aldo winning the bout against Yan would also prove that the UFC matchmakers were right in giving him the fight.
“It’s huge,” White said of Aldo winning a second belt. “I guess everybody would be wrong then, wouldn’t they, that he didn’t deserve the title shot. If he goes in (against Yan) and he gets absolutely dominated and its a one-sided fight and Aldo gets destroyed then they were right and we were wrong. You know, it happens.”