José Aldo stuck between Rio and main event

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Aldo against Hominick Photo: Josh Hedges

Shortly after beating Mark Hominick at UFC 129 last Saturday, José Aldo told reporters behind the scenes at Rogers Centre: “Now I’ll likely face Chad Mendes – and at UFC Rio, time has come for our public to experience the excitement of the UFC up close.”

At that point the fighter was remarking on information unearthed while the event was still in progress: “Yeah, Chad Mendes is a really tough guy who’s been coming up through the ranks. If the boss wills it, it’ll be a good fight, but I do what they want: I’m a UFC employee.”

Well, Chad Mendes really does seem likely to be his next opponent, but the August 27 UFC in Rio might not be where it takes place. UFC 133 in Philadelphia, a few weeks earlier, is an option looking more and more apt to materialize.

So does Dana White have ill-will towards the Brazilian public? Nothing of the sort. Dana is facing a dilemma. The main event in Brazil is already Anderson Silva versus Okami, and the co-main event is Shogun and Forrest Griffin. Another major matchup may feature Rodrigo Minotauro. However, Mino is still recovering from two different surgical procedures he underwent recently, so he’s not 100% guaranteed. The promotional head honcho needs three top-billing fights on which to leverage each show, and Aldo versus Chad would fit the bill for Philadelphia nicely. That is one of the allegations White has been making.

Last Saturday’s UFC 129 had two headlining fights, besides the historic showdown between Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture, “The Natural’s” farewell fight. A very solid card. However, Canada is a huge market for the UFC. The Toronto event had the largest attendance in Ultimate Fighting Championship history (55 thousand) and took a record gate, as well. The promotion is just getting started in Brazil, so perhaps it doesn’t seem wise for them to go all in all at once.

Photo: Josh Hedges

What Aldo wants is to fight in Rio, and that’s probably what all the Brazilian fans want, too. In Rio the champion would be right there with one of his greatest passions, soccer. Last Sunday, on a flight to Orlando, the fighter wasn’t able to watch his beloved team, Flamengo, which won the Rio de Janeiro state championship. As Brazilian television reporter Ana Hissa recounted, Aldo went straight off the plane to find out the result, and he was stoked.

What about you, dear reader, would you like to see “Scarface” fight at UFC Rio? Comment below, let’s get this light bulb glowing in Dana White’s head!

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