A clash of top featherweights is expected to take place this July in Canada — but what city will be headlined by Aldo vs. Stephens?
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will look to bounce back from the worst (and frankly only) slump of his career when he takes on Jeremy Stephens later this year in Canada. First reported by Brazil’s Combate, Aldo vs. Stephens is expected to headline an event believed to be UFC on FOX 30 in Canada, which was previously announced by the UFC as taking place on July 28. Verbal agreements for the bout are in place, according to the Combate report.
The pair were originally targeted for the UFC’s return to Singapore earlier in the month, only to be moved back to the Canadian date.
Aldo (26–4), the UFC’s inaugural and longest serving featherweight champion, was all but perfect before running into Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in 2015. Including that 13 second knockout loss, he’s 1-3 in his last four, having dropped two straight bouts to new champion Max Holloway. The lone win came against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, where Aldo earned the interim featherweight title (which was later promoted to the full belt when McGregor was stripped of his 145lb championship subsequent to winning lightweight gold).
Jeremy Stephens (28–14), on the other hand, is on an upswing currently. He’s won three straight, including a huge but controversial finish of Josh Emmett at UFC Orlando in February. Stephens other victories in his current streak have come against Doo-ho Choi and Gilbert Melendez. Stephens, with the promotion since UFC 71 in 2007, has frankly looked better than ever in the past year.
Though no city or venue has been announced for the Fight Night even in Canada, there are a number of possible suspects. The most likely at this point is Calgary. The promotion’s debut there in 2012 was a disaster, and Dana White has long said he intended to bring the UFC back to the Alberta city.