Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski Holds Major Implications for Featherweight Division

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MAY 09: UFC featherweight fighters Jose Aldo (L) of Brazil and Alexander Volkanovski of Australia face off during Ultimate Media Day on May 09, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Following Max Holloway’s highly impressive title defense over Brian Ortega last year, UFC President Dana White said that he’d like to see “Blessed” move up to 155 pounds.

And the boss got his wish, as Holloway moved up to take on Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 last month. The fight didn’t play out in the Hawaiian’s favor, however. Holloway seemed to have trouble dealing with the size and power of “The Diamond” and he ended up losing a decision.

At just 27-years-old, Holloway’s future could still lie at lightweight. For now, however, it appears as if he’ll once again put his 145-pound title on the line in his next bout. And his next challenger could very well be determined this weekend.

UFC 237

Tomorrow night, the UFC is set to return to Brazil, as UFC 237 is set to take place live on pay-per-view from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

In the main event, reigning 115-pound titleholder Rose Namajunas will put her title up for grabs against hard-hitting contender Jessica Andrade. And in the co-headliner, Brazilian legend and former middleweight champion Anderson Silva will do battle with Jared Cannonier.

A crucial featherweight bout will also take place on the main card. Former kingpin Jose Aldo will meet rising contender Alexander Volkanovski in a bout that Holloway will likely be paying close attention to. In fact, this bout will likely determine the champion’s future, though the winner won’t necessarily be his next opponent.

If Alexander Volkanovski Wins

Since entering the UFC in 2016, Volkanovski has been nothing short of impressive. Overall, the 30-year-old Australian holds a 19-1 professional record. In the UFC, he has won six-straight fights with three of those victories coming by way of stoppage.

During that stretch, “The Great” has proven to be a dangerous threat. Most recently, he’s picked up back-to-back wins over Darren Elkins and former multi-time title challenger Chad Mendes.

In Aldo, Volkanovski will undoubtedly be facing the toughest test of his career. The Australian will establish himself as the clear-cut No. 1 contender at 145 pounds with a win. Should that occur, a bout between him and Holloway should be on tap for later this year.

If Jose Aldo Wins

As of now, Aldo remains ranked as the No. 1 featherweight according to the UFC’s official rankings. And as of late, he’s looked like the Aldo of old, picking up consecutive TKO victories over Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano.

If he were to score another impressive victory over Volkanovski, it could be argued that Aldo is deserving of a title shot. It’s unlikely, however, that he’d receive one.

Since 2017, Holloway and Aldo have fought twice. At UFC 212, “Blessed” won the title with a third-round TKO victory over Aldo. Then in the rematch at UFC 218 six months later, Holloway defended the title over Aldo with another third-round TKO victory. Neither fight was particularly competitive.

Because of their history, Aldo is unlikely to get another crack at Holloway at this point in time regardless of if he comes out of UFC 237 with a victory. If that turns out to be the case, the UFC will look to go in a different direction.

With that being said, an Aldo victory could potentially set up a title fight between Holloway and Frankie Edgar. Edgar is a former lightweight champion and has twice challenged for a title at 145 pounds though he’s come up short on both occasions.

Edgar hasn’t competed in over a year, as he last scored a victory over Cub Swanson in April 2018. He may not be the most deserving contender at this moment, but if Aldo beats Volkanovski, it may make the most sense.

Holloway and Edgar have been scheduled to fight multiple times, but the bout has always fallen through. Stylistically, the match-up is an intriguing one and Edgar always comes to fight.

Ultimately, the bout between Aldo and Volkanovski holds major implications at 145 pounds. After this weekend, both Holloway’s and the division’s futures will be a bit more clear.

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