UFC Featherweight Champion's management team talks about why they chose to turn down the boutPrior to the UFC's announcement of the coming merger of the WEC roster with their own, there was talk of a bout featuring current UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo facing former two-time UFC Lightweight Championship challenger Kenny Florian in a bout at 155 pounds that was to take place under the UFC banner. Shortly after those rumors began, they were stopped when it was confirmed that Aldo had turned down the bout and would instead defend his title at least once more before moving up in weight.
Now, we have the reason why from Aldo's camp as his head trainer, Andre Pederneiras, has spoken to Tatame.com about the refusal of the fight and the counter-offer that they gave to the UFC, which also went unaccepted;
"A counter-offer was made with a fight between Aldo and Kenny Florian. They offered us this and I was the first to decline it. Aldo fighting [Frankie Edgar], the fourth in the world, is one thing. It’s the champion of the event fighting a champion of the same organization, but on the weight division above. 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."
Since the bout fell apart, Florian has moved on to a UFC Fights for the Troops 2 main event slot against rising Lightweight star Evan Dunham on January 22nd, 2011, while Aldo will battle Josh Grispi in a UFC Featherweight Championship defense that will serve as the co-main event of the upcoming UFC 125 event on New Year's Day. If Aldo is successful in his title defense, could we see the UFC move to make a bout between Aldo and Sherk or Edgar or should they look to keep their newly-crowned champion in his weight class for the time being?