Although WEC featherweight king Jose Aldo claimed he wanted to test the 155-pound waters, he reportedly declined to make his UFC debut in a lightweight bout against Kenny Florian. The offer was made prior to last week’s monumental merger, however it appears Aldo’s manager, André Pederneiras, was the one that passed on the offer because he felt the former multi-time top contender simply wasn’t worthy.
“When they said it’d be Kenny Florian, it’s not that he’s not a tough guy, I think he’s an excellent athlete, but he’s coming from a bad result and, unfortunately for him, he was never [a UFC] champion, and now he’s not even in the Top 10 pound-for-pound, so I couldn’t see why this fight should happen,” Pederneiras told Tateme.com.
“Who turned the proposal down was me, and nobody else. Aldo wanted to fight, but who turned it down was me because I understand this fight wouldn’t bring any benefit to him. Independently that Kenny Florian is a great fighter or not.”
Florian holds a respectable 13-5 pro record, finishing all but one of his victims before the final horns have sounded. He’s 0-2 in title fights and was thoroughly trounced by Gray Maynard in a top contender bout in his last outing. Following the unanimous decision loss, UFC president Dana White accused his fellow Bostonian of choking in the big shows – unlike the Lakers in Game 7.
Oddly, the Brazilians would have been more down to brawl with Sean Sherk. The 37-year-old is a mundane 2-2 over his last four forays, but donned Octagon gold four years ago.
“If they have offered Sean Sherk, on a similar situation, maybe I’d have accepted, it was more likely,” Pederneiras stated. “He was a guy coming from a win and he once was the champion of the event, so we declined the offer because of that. It wasn’t because we were afraid of the other guy, it was because I thought it wasn’t worth it.
At the same time, the planet’s nastiest featherweight is still 24-years-young, so they are in no rush to start division hopping at this stage of his potential G.O.A.T. career.
“Junior is a very young guy and he’ll get heavier naturally, we don’t need to force anything,” Pederneiras said in closing. “In the following week, it turned out he was UFC’s champion on the division below, so it was even better.”
Aldo will make his first UFC title defense against Josh Grispi at UFC 126, while Florian will headline “UFC Fight Night 23: Fight for the Troops 2.”