Dana White explained he had heard Aldo was talking of possibly moving up in weight, and when the opportunity arose, he made Aldo an offer to fight Florian in December. However, Aldo and his camp declined the offer.
Aldo’s coach, André Pederneiras, said it was he who made the decision not to take the fight with Florian and here’s why:
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 Ultimate’s champion, and now he’s not even on the top 10 pound by pound, so I couldn’t see why this fight should happen. 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.
If they have offered Sean Sherk, on a similar situation, maybe I’d have accepted, it was more likely. 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 I wasn’t worth it. Junior is a very young guy and he’ll get heavier naturally, we don’t need to force anything. On the following week, it turned out he was UFC’s champion on the division below, so it was even better.
Apparently, it seems, Pederneiras feels Florian was not worth fighting because firstly, he was coming off a loss, secondly, he had never been the UFC champion and was not a top-10 ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
Kenny is a top-10 ranked lightweight. No, he is not a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter, but there is only one UFC fighter on the current pound-for-pound rankings and that is Frankie Edgar, the UFC lightweight champion.
According to Pederneiras, they asked for a fight with Edgar to start with, but the UFC made a counter-offer with the Florian fight. He also goes on to say they would have probably taken a fight with Sean Sherk if it had been offered.
Although Florian holds a higher lightweight ranking than Sherk, evidently they would have rather taken a fight with Sherk because he’s a former champion and had won his last fight, a split decision over Evan Dunham. Never mind his current ranking below Florian.
One of the knocks they had against Florian was that he lost his most recent fight. That is true, but he lost to the number one contender, Gray Maynard. In fact, Florian has only lost three fights in the last four years, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard.
From a coach or manager’s point of view, it is commendable Aldo’s camp feels their fighter only deserves the best competition. However, sometimes you might have to go through someone first before you get that title shot, even if your name is Jose Aldo and especially when you are moving up a weight class in a new organization where where many of the fans don’t even know who you are.
Consider when Anderson Silva, the man largely considered the number one pound-for-pound fighter, moved up to light heavyweight for the first time after cleaning out the middleweight division? Remember who he fought? It was James Irvin; a fighter not ranked on any website’s top anything and he had never held a UFC title. – And Silva was moving up weight classes in his own organization, not a new one.
Sometimes you just have to be realistic. And the reality is right now, Kenny Florian is a bigger star in the UFC than Jose Aldo.