Now that Aljamain Sterling has cemented himself as the undisputed champion in the 135 lbs. division, title candidates have emerged to stake their claims to a world title shot.
Leading the pack is T.J. Dillashaw, who Sterling himself called out after he retained his title against Petr Yan at UFC 273. UFC President Dana White also said Dillashaw would likely be next for Sterling, and the trash talk between the bantamweights has already picked up.
Next is Henry Cejudo, who never lost the bantamweight title but rather retired from competition after retaining the belt against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 two years ago. Cejudo has re-entered the USADA testing pool and met with the UFC brass, with Sterling’s name on the lips of “Triple C” on social media, if not the actual negotiating table.
Thursday evening, Aldo would be sure to inject himself into the center of the conversation by going straight to the heartbeat of the world title picture.
Aldo addressed “The FunkMaster” directly and with a detectable urgency found in his prose. He also shot down the credibility of both Cejudo and Dillashaw as viable title challengers in the process.
“Aljamain, I am waiting for you to sign the contract for our fight. There is no doubt that the fans want to watch this fight. We are currently the 2 best bantamweights in the UFC.
“So let’s fight for the title while they sell popcorn in the arena. Whoever sells more popcorn fights with whoever wins our fight. Deal? Let’s do this, Champ!”
“Let the rest of the boys fighting each other and exchanging insults on the internet. In my opinion it does not make any sense to let a guy who got suspended for 2 years for cheating to come back and fight for the belt after winning a split decision in a fight I think he lost.
“The other one is a clown who faked his retirement just to try to raise his purse – as that did not work now he wants to fight for the title after spending 2 years out of the game (and out of the USADA’s pool).”
Aldo’s final tweet made reference to T.J. Dillashaw’s 2020 USADA suspension for EPO. Dillashaw has “done his time,” if you will, and has since returned to the Octagon with a victory over Cory Sandhagen last July.
If you think Aldo’s callout is a long shot, you may be mistaken. Sterling himself said that Aldo was arguably the most deserving of a title shot, even though he admitted to being most intrigued by a fight against Dillashaw.
Furthermore, UFC President Dana White once gave Aldo a title shot at bantamweight before he even had a victory in the division. So now that Aldo has three straight wins, White could be persuaded to give the legendary competitor another go at the 135 lbs. strap.
What do you think? Did José Aldo sell you on the idea of a Sterling/Aldo title fight?