Galen Nathanson, Denver Post
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 | 9:30 p.m.
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HOUSTON — Common courtesies are sometimes flipped the opposite way in the mixed martial arts world.
Instead of never asking someone about their weight, for instance, it’s practically a requirement to pose those questions to fighters during the week of an event.
The topic has reached a whole new level of popularity at UFC 136. Three of the card’s four headliners — everyone except for Gray Maynard — have faced questions about whether or not they are in the correct weight class and when they might move.
“It’s really not up to me,” UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo said through a translator. “It’s up to my coach, my manager and the UFC on what they think is the right time to go up. Right now, I feel up to the challenge.”
Aldo, like most fighters in the UFC, walks around about 20 pounds heavier than the 145-pound featherweight limit. He works off some of the weight during training and then cuts the rest right before weighing in.
It’s usually not a major problem, but Aldo ran into extreme difficulties before his last fight. A video that leaked last week showed Aldo struggling to lose the weight before his UFC 129 bout with Mark Hominick and contemplating giving up on the process.
He said it was because he had gained muscle after a seven-month injury layoff.
“It was harder to cut that weight,” Aldo said.
He refined the process this week and seemed to have an easier time with it, but it didn’t stop many from wondering whether fighting at lightweight was in his future.
Aldo said the move was likely but didn’t anticipate it any time soon. The UFC’s current 155-pound champion, Frankie Edgar, was asked how Aldo would fare in the division.
“Phenomenal,” Edgar, who faces Maynard in the UFC 136 main event, responded. “He’s a great fighter. Pound-for-pound one of the best, so why not at 155?”
Edgar is facing the reverse situation in his career. He’s one of the smallest lightweight fighters on the UFC roster and doesn’t have to cut much weight to make the limit.
Aldo may fight at a weight class 10 pounds less than Edgar’s, but the featherweight champion is naturally bigger than the lightweight champion. Edgar could someday decide to cut down to featherweight.
He’s hinted at the possibility but understandably wouldn’t have much motivation as long as he was in possession of the lightweight belt.
“You never know,” Edgar said. “Anything can happen.”
If he ever did decide to make the move, it would be wise to consult with Kenny Florian, Aldo’s challenger at UFC 136. Florian is the most notable lightweight to drop to featherweight since the promotion added the weight class at the beginning of the year.
Although he claimed the weight came off easier this week, it was far from pleasant when he made his featherweight debut this summer at UFC 131.
“It was brutal,” Florian said. “It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life by far.”
Florian feels comfortable at 145 pounds now but can’t commit to staying there for the rest of his career.
He sounds the same as Edgar and Aldo. No one knows which division is the ultimate destination for any of the three fighters.