Carneiro has been booked to face the former champ after putting together an impressive, 5-1 record in the Octagon. The only man to defeat Carneiro in the UFC, in fact ever, is former challenger, Brian Ortega. Most recently, at UFC 227 last August, “Moicano” submitted longtime contender, Cub Swanson.
Well, it’s no secret that tonight is a massive opportunity for Carneiro, as he’s facing arguably the greatest featherweight of all time. While talking to the media recently about tonight’s bout, and what it could lead to, the Brazilian said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“In the beginning, when they say, ‘Oh, you will fight against Aldo,’ I felt a little excited, you know?” Moicano asked. “Ready to go. But think, ‘He’s a legend, this is my biggest opponent.’ But now, in the fight week, I don’t think in this anymore because it’s too close and we have to focus and, to me, it’s just another fight.”
“Everybody knows Aldo is a legend, he’s a former champion, so a win over him, I think, they can’t avoid the title shot,” Moicano said. “But we never know, because I don’t know what Max will do now. They don’t know if he’ll go up to the lightweight, or he’s staying in the featherweight. Let’s see what the UFC has for me. But what I’m thinking about is only Saturday, Feb. 2, beat a legend.”
So, there’s a couple of things to look at here, in terms of “Moicano’s” title shot prospects. Provided, of course, he defeats Aldo tonight.
Now, there’s no question that from a meritocratic perspective, if Carneiro defeats the legend tonight, he’ll be deserving of a title shot. After all, his UFC record will be sitting at 6-1, and Carneiro will have defeated Swanson, Aldo and Jeremy Stephens during that time. Currently “Moicano” is ranked #5 at 145, and Aldo is #2. So, a win tonight should move him into the top three.
But, as “Moicano” noted, it will depend on what happens next with Holloway. Many believe that Frankie Edgar could be tapped to face Holloway next, if, the latter is staying at 145. If that fight isn’t booked until, say, April or May, then the UFC may want “Moicano” to fight again in the interim. After all, the featherweight belt wouldn’t be up for grabs again, likely until fall. If that’s the case, then Carneiro could end up facing Alexander Volkanovski, who is currently ranked #4. That wouldn’t be a bad things for fans…