Jose Aldo: Frankie Edgar fighting Brian Ortega on late notice was 'biggest mistake'

11 March 2018

Since Jose Aldo’s most recent octagon outing, the UFC featherweight division has seen a few twists.

Shortly after Aldo’s loss to champ Max Holloway at UFC 218 in December, Josh Emmett put his name on the map with a huge upset of Ricardo Lamas – only to have Jeremy Stephens, then on a two-fight streak, steal his thunder with a controversial knockout win in their UFC on FOX 28 headliner.

The most important narrative, however, lies with Brian Ortega and former 155-pound champion Frankie Edgar. Edgar was set to have his third stab at the featherweight title, this time in a UFC 222 headliner, until Holloway was forced to withdraw with injury. Edgar then made a risky call, accepting up-and-coming Ortega as a replacement foe rather than wait for his title shot.

We know the result: Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) became the first person to finish Edgar (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) and stole his title shot in the process. Seeing the underdog get the job done that way may have been a surprise for some, but it turns out there isn’t much that can surprise Aldo in this game.

“It’s a new generation that’s coming in,” Aldo told Brazil’s “Giro Combate” show. “Age comes for everyone, and it’s normal to have this sort of rotation. To me, it wasn’t (surprising). I just thought it was a mistake on Edgar’s end to fight (Ortega), who’s a very tough guy. He would have fought for the title, risked that and lost. Now he’s all the way back there again.

“I think that was his biggest mistake. But I wasn’t surprised with the loss. That’s part of it. When you go in there, anyone can come out victorious, whether it’s via knockout or points, and that’s part of fighting.”

UFC President Dana White has confirmed the title bout is next for Ortega, though the date is pending Holloway’s recovery. Once it does happen, though, how does Aldo see it going?

“It’s a very even fight, I think” Aldo said. “Both have very similar reaches. In the striking department, too, I don’t see any of them as a specialist. The one specialty I see is Ortega’s guillotine, which is very strong.

“But Max won’t take him down. He’ll stand. So the fight will be decided on the feet.”

As far as a preferred winner goes, Aldo isn’t thinking about it too much. After all, with all the steps he must take before a title shot, he’s too busy worrying about his next fight – hopefully against Stephens – to waste too much energy on a theoretical future. But if we must speculate …

“For me, a better scenario would be for Brian to win,” Aldo said. “Because this way I know I have big chances of fighting for the title again.”

For complete coverage of UFC 222, check out the UFC events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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