Is the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion trying to bully Jose Aldo?
Not long after Anthony Pettis defeated Ben Henderson for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title (video replay here), "Showtime" put the UFC featherweight champion on notice, warning "Junior" that they still had unfinished business following the injury that canceled their UFC 163 showdown.
No problem, according to coach Andre Pederneiras, see you at 145 pounds.
That response prompted UFC President Dana White to tell reporters at the "Henderson vs. Pettis 2" post-fight media scrum (watch it here) that Aldo's perceived unwillingness to move up in weight -- whether real or just manufactured by Pederneiras -- gives fans the impression that he's "afraid."
"Junior" tells Planeta Nocaute (via MMA Fighting) to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
"I can fight Cain Velasquez if they want. It's not up to me, I'm not the matchmaker. I want to fight, I'm here to fight. I train everyday to destroy whoever they put in front of me. I'm not scared of anyone. They have two arms and two legs, and I will do my best and win. I agree with everything Andre says, and I can fight anyone. Sometimes Dana says things that you better not pay attention. (Dana) knows he promised us things and he knows he has to give us, so that's why he says those things. We'll see what happens."
Aldo was already booked to throw hands opposite Pettis in the UFC 163 main event earlier this month; however, "Showtime" was bounced from the Brazilian pay-per-view (PPV) following a knee injury. His replacement, Chan Sung Jung, was pounded out in the fourth round.
But the win did not come without cost.
The champion injured his foot after burying "The Korean Zombie" and will be on the shelf until 2013, so accepting a fight against Pettis -- at any weight class -- is not an option (for now). Any and all call outs, while enough to get the fans talking, will bear no fruit.
No matter, as "Showtime" has enough to keep him busy in the interim.