José Aldo’s career has hit something of a road block. The former dominant UFC featherweight champion has now lost three of his last four bouts, twice in the space of a few months to current champ Max Holloway as well as the 13-second KO at the hands of Conor McGregor in late 2015.
But even in adversity, Aldo isn’t eyeing an easy route back to the top. Speaking with MMAFighting, Aldo stated that he has an ideal opponent in mind for his next Octagon assignment — the self-proclaimed hardest hitter at 145-pounds, Jeremy Stephens.
Stephens, an 11-year UFC veteran, is currently riding the most high profile win streak of his career. Last month he scored a (somewhat controversial) stoppage of Josh Emmett in the main event of the UFC’s trip to Florida and before that stopped Doo Ho Choi and earned a decision against Gilbert Melendez. A win against a fighter of the caliber of Aldo, though, would represent a new high water mark in the Iowan’s career.
“I asked to fight him, he asked to fight me, so it will be a great fight,” Aldo said. “I’m waiting for them to set it up,” Aldo said as quoted by MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz.
Aldo says that he is aiming for the UFC’s trip to Rio de Janeiro on May 12th as the ideal stage to host the bout. Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington for the women’s bantamweight title has been confirmed as the main event but the card would receive a significant boost if the proposed Aldo vs. Stephens bout takes place on the same card and, incidentally, the same venue as Aldo’s title loss to Holloway last summer.