Yesterday it was announced that champ champ Henry Cejudo will defend his bantamweight belt vs. Jose Aldo. It doesn't make sense, but it does make dollars and cents. Professional combat sports are not real sport. You don't get into the Super Bowl because more people will watch your team, but in MMA and in boxing, you can a title shot for that exact reason.
These are the UFC Top 10 contenders for the division:
1. Marlon Moraes
2. Aljamain Sterling
3. Petr Yan
4. Cory Sandhagen
5. Raphael Assuncao
6. Jose Aldo
7. Pedro Munhoz
8. Jimmie Rivera
9. Cody Garbrandt
10. Rob Font
Moraes is, of course, out of immediate title shot contention, as he lost to Cejudo via TKO for the vacant bantamweight belt. Then he bounced back with a Split Decision win, over Aldo.
Sterling is on a four-fight win streak, without losing a round. Yan is 6-0 in the UFC, winning a Fight of the Night and a Performance of the Night in the process. Sandhagen is 5-0 in the UFC.
By contrast, Aldo lost his featherweight title to Max Holloway via TKO in Round 3. And lost the immediate rematch via TKO in Round 3. Aldo bounced back with back to back performance bonus earning wins, but then lost a Unanimous Decision to Alexander Volkanovski, and dropped to 135. In his division debut, he lost a Split Decision, that UFC president Dana White thought he won.
“I think Jose Aldo won the fight,” said White at the UFC 245 post-fight press conference. “Most of the room thought he won. If [CCCC] wants Jose Aldo next, we could do it. I don’t have a problem with it. I’m sure people would want to see it.”
And that's what can decide a title fight - fans want to see it. However, the legitimate title contenders are not impressed.
This clown choosing Aldo because I don’t speak perfect English ??????? Since when Jose is the fluent speaker? What kind of logic is that? Henry knows he is not a draw and he is unsecured. In his head he already lost the fight to me. @ufc give me someone who is confident in himself! https://t.co/hAxpZKDICr
This clown choosing Aldo because I don’t speak perfect English ??????? Since when Jose is the fluent speaker? What kind of logic is that? Henry knows he is not a draw and he is unsecured. In his head he already lost the fight to me. @ufc give me someone who is confident in himself! https://t.co/hAxpZKDICr— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) February 18, 2020
This raises a legitimate question. Is it fair in MMA that fans can get the title shot they most want to see, which means technically more deserving contenders do not? Or in professional fighting, it is incumbent on fighters to not just win, but to win in hyper exciting fashion and talk trash?