Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Jose Aldo ready to move up in class
By Brett Okamoto ESPN.com
LAS VEGAS -- UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo says he'd like to challenge himself at lightweight, following a scheduled title defense against Frankie Edgar in February.
Aldo, 26, will seek the fourth defense of his 145-pound belt at UFC 156 in Las Vegas. He's long expressed interest in becoming the third fighter in UFC history to win belts in multiple weight classes. Randy Couture and B.J. Penn have accomplished the feat.
One reason it has yet to happen for the dominant champ is at the request of his longtime trainer, Andre Pederneiras. Aldo says a strong performance against Edgar, a former champ at 155, could be enough to earn his coach's blessing.
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"It all depends on this fight," Aldo told ESPN.com through an interpreter. "My trainer thinks I'm not quite ready yet. When he thinks I'm ready to go up, I fully intend to do it.
"Once I beat Frankie Edgar, I'm sure I can prove that I can fight one (weight class) above."
Aldo (21-1) says the move to lightweight likely would be temporary. He believes he'd have no problem dropping back down, a concern welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has expressed regarding a move to middleweight.
Should he win the lightweight title, Aldo says he'd defend both if the UFC allowed. If not, he'd vacate the 155-pound belt.
"I would like to go up and obtain the championship, then go back to my category," Aldo said. "If I could keep both (I will), however if not, I would like to fight for the title in the category above and then go back to mine."
The featherweight champion's ambition doesn't end there. Part of Aldo's hesitancy to leave the featherweight division permanently could be linked to another dream.
Aldo says he has not ruled out a cut to 135 pounds, even though he typically weighs 172 pounds in between fights, if it means a shot at the bantamweight title.
The Brazilian says he's fought at that weight once before in his career and has expressed to Pederneiras his desire to make UFC history with belts in three different weight classes.
"I have been at that weight once," Aldo said. "Nobody has beaten that record (of three titles) yet. Andres knows that's a dream of mine, but he controls my career."
Dominick Cruz holds the 135-pound title, but has been sidelined with injury most of 2012. Aldo's teammate, Renan Barao, was crowned the interim champion after a win over Urijah Faber in July.
Aldo said he would be happy to see Barao unify the belts and didn't comment specifically on how the situation would affect his goals.