Title turnover in combat sports is both a good and a bad thing. Established champions such as Jon Jones can become popular or infamous in ways that can entice people to watch fights. But if they become too stagnant, people may wish for a change. The second option was beginning to plague the lightweight division, and even if it was unwarranted, Benson Henderson was not a popular champion. Anthony Pettis's win has opened up a lot of opportunities for the UFC, but there is one opportunity the promotion should wait on jumping at: the “Superfight” with Jose Aldo.
Pettis wasted no time in calling out Aldo after having the title belt placed around his waist. An injury earlier in the year kept this bout from coming to fruition. Now, because of that odd twist of fate, the idea of an Aldo-Pettis matchup carries more weight than it would have the first go around. But that doesn't mean the UFC should make this match immediately.
Aldo is well-established at 145 pounds. Other than Ricardo Lamas, he's already defeated the top five competitors who are vying for a shot at his title. The matchmakers behind the scenes should focus on creating that matchup first. If Aldo can defeat Lamas, and do so in such a way that makes him look even better; then the featherweight champion should begin to prep for his permanent move to lightweight. This way, the featherweight title isn't held hostage to a superfight, and it keeps the guys at 145 active for a prize at the end of their battles.
Meanwhile, Pettis should have to get through T.J. Grant first, before moving onto any other fight. Grant had been granted the opportunity to fight for the title before his concussion forced him to the sideline, opening the door for Pettis’s title shot. A victory over Grant would help establish Pettis as the face of the lightweight division while building his brand in a way that can catch the attention of the mainstream fan. Pettis is the UFC's best chance at creating a star not named Ronda Rousey; a victory over Grant would be a major step in that direction.
Only after these two hurdles are passed should the UFC even mention the idea of a superfight. They must avoid the debacle that was the idea of the Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre superfight that was batted around for years, and has now become a moot point. Aldo and Pettis have already agreed to fight each other once. Getting the deal done for a second time should not be a problem. But only when the time is right.
Mixed martial arts has not had the chance to create a major superfight at this point in the sport’s history. One shot was already missed, and now the UFC is very close to making another. Still, let the battle between Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo should only come when the time is right, and that time is when the UFC has the most to gain.