Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo could challenge Petr Yan for the bantamweight title left vacant by Henry Cejudo.
UFC President Dana White announced the potential bout on Wednesday during an episode of ESPN’s Sports Center, adding there isn’t an immediate timeline or location for the title fight. A person with knowledge of the possible booking said the promotion is considering it for UFC 251, which is expected to take place July 11 in Las Vegas.
Earlier this week, UFC officials confirmed Cejudo had vacated the belt after announcing his retirement at UFC 249. Following his first successful title defense in a fight against ex-champ Dominick Cruz, “Triple C” said he’d achieved his competitive goals. He left the door open for a return with proper compensation, but said he wanted to move on to new challenges in his life.
White confirmed Cejudo’s retirement status, closing the door on the fighter’s immediate return to competition.
Bantamweight contenders Yan and Aljamain Sterling were widely considered to occupy the top spots in the 135-pound division below Cejudo and were expected to be among the first title challengers. Aldo, however, skipped the line when Cejudo named him as the No. 1 contender following a close decision loss at UFC 246 to Marlon Moraes. Cejudo beat Moraes to claim the bantamweight belt left vacant when now-former champ T.J. Dillashaw failed a drug test.
Aldo currently stands at No. 6 in the promotion’s rankings, while Moraes, Sterling and Yan occupy the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots, respectively.
Cejudo and Aldo were scheduled to square off at UFC 250 on May 9, but Aldo was scratched when he could not obtain a visa to travel stateside for the event, which was moved from Sao Paulo in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. Cejudo was rebooked against Cruz and won via second-round TKO.