If everything goes well, this title defense could be his last.
Aldo (23-1) has long wished to test himself at 155 pounds. However, he’s left that decision completely up to his longtime coach, Andre Pederneiras.
Should Aldo win Saturday, it appears as if everything lines up for his move to lightweight and a title shot against champion Anthony Pettis. He and Pettis (17-2) were scheduled to meet at 145 pounds in 2013, but Pettis withdrew due to injury.
“Everybody is talking about that,” Aldo told ESPN.com. “It’s not up to me. Whatever they decide, I will be ready.
“You never know [what Pederneiras will say]. I’ve been waiting for this permission for a long time. I hope this time, he will allow me to go up.”
The UFC most likely has the same hope. Pettis, who is rehabbing from knee surgery, doesn’t have a clear-cut No. 1 contender to fight upon his return. Josh Thomson had assumed that role, but he lost to Ben Henderson via split decision last week.
UFC president Dana White told the media Thursday that he’d love to see Aldo take on Pettis for the lightweight championship. He did say the Brazilian would have to vacate the 145-pound title to do it.
“I think if he makes the move to 55, he should do it and drop the belt,” White said. “If he doesn’t like being at 155, he can drop back down and fight for the [featherweight] title again.”
Overeem, Mir fighting for their job?
The two veterans have a combined record of 0-5 since May 2012. Both have been stopped twice in that span. Nevertheless, White said he has no concrete plans of dismissing the loser. It will depend on the fight.
“They need to perform,” White said. “Everybody keeps asking me if those guys are done -- if one of them is getting cut. What if the fight is a Mark Hunt, [Antonio] Silva[-type] fight? I’ll keep them both.”
Mir (16-8) told ESPN.com last week that win or lose, he does not intend to retire. Overeem acknowledged he ran out of gas in his previous two losses, but said he addressed that problem in his recent camp.
“Everybody knows I’m the guy who wants to knock guys out in the first round,” Overeem said. “That is what brought me here. That is what people want to see. The last two fights, it backfired. It’s something I dealt with in the gym.”
Vitor Belfort and TRT
White made headlines this week when he backed a stance taken by the Association of Ringside Physicians to ban testosterone replacement therapy in combat sports.
Despite that support, however, White shot down claims that he was publicly hoping the Nevada State Athletic Commission denies Vitor Belfort a therapeutic-use exemption for TRT for an upcoming title fight in Las Vegas.
Belfort (24-10) is expected to fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in either May or July, and has said he will apply for a TUE. The Brazilian has legally used TRT during his past three fights, all of which took place in Brazil.
Different members of the NSAC have expressed doubt over whether Belfort will be granted a TUE, thanks to a positive drug test he submitted to the commission in 2006.
White defended Belfort’s use on Thursday. He added that if the NSAC denies Belfort’s use of TRT, he’s unsure of how it would affect Belfort's ability to use it in Brazil.
“I honestly don’t know the answer to that,” White said. “I don’t know how we would handle that. Hopefully this thing comes out soon and they just ban it. I’d rather seem them ban it -- do away with it. Then there’s no confusion.
“If you allow people to take TRT [though], why would you not allow Vitor to take TRT? You know what I mean? That’s my thing. If you allow it, then you allow it.”