Tuesday, February 26, 2013
White: Aldo-Pettis title bout is still on
By Franklin McNeil
While UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and his handlers said a title bout with lightweight contender Anthony Pettis was out of the question, promotion president Dana White begged to differ.
Something had to give, but when White’s involved in these types of disputes, he usually wins. This dispute proved to be no exception.
White announced Monday night on Twitter that the Aldo-Pettis showdown is a go.
“And it’s for Aldo’s 145-pound title,” White added.
The announcement comes less than two days after White revealed that Aldo was balking at facing Pettis, who has never competed professionally at featherweight.
According to White, Team Aldo was of the opinion that Pettis didn’t deserve a 145-pound title shot. Pettis, the former WEC lightweight champion, was in line to face the Benson Henderson-Gilbert Melendez winner.
Henderson, the reigning UFC lightweight champ, and Melendez are slated to fight April 20 in San Jose, Calif. Melendez is the former Strikeforce lightweight titleholder.
Pettis, however, got the itch to move down a weight class and face Aldo after witnessing the champ successfully defend his title against former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 on Feb. 2 in Las Vegas.
Immediately after that bout, Pettis sent White a text expressing his desire to fight Aldo at 145. White liked the idea, and shortly thereafter made the fight official.
Then Team Aldo made its position known to UFC officials.
“Jose Aldo came out and said, ‘There is no way in hell I’m fighting Pettis,’” White said Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., shortly after UFC 157. “He’s absolutely refusing to fight Pettis; he doesn’t think [Pettis] deserves the shot.”
But White quickly let it be known that Aldo better reconsider or prepare to face the consequences. Based on White’s announcement Monday night, Aldo has decided to take the fight.
Aldo will defend his title against Pettis on Aug. 3. UFC has yet to announce where the fight will take place.