Sunday, April 25, 2010 | 12:37 a.m.
SACRAMENTO — Jose Aldo did more than just defend his featherweight title with a unanimous decision win over Urijah Faber Saturday.
He also gave UFC President Dana White’s mental health a big boost.
White stated numerous times leading up to Saturday’s card that he was looking forward to the event more than usual to erase the bad taste that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva had left in his mouth two weeks before.
Silva, considered by many to the greatest fighter in the world, mostly clowned his way through five championship rounds at UFC 112, angering White so much that he left before the fight was over.
Following Aldo’s (17-1) dominant performance over Faber (23-4) this weekend, White said he is finally ready to move forward from that disappointing event.
“I’m very happy with the way that this fight went tonight,” White said. “It was a great night, and I can put Abu Dhabi behind me now.”
White said he was happy with the main event despite what even he considered a very cautious game plan from the usually super-aggressive Aldo.
Although there was no question that Aldo won the fight decisively and sent Faber to the hospital in the process, White admitted he thought the 23-year-old champion could have finished it early had he chosen to be more aggressive.
The reason he was happy with one and upset with the other, however, had more to do with Silva’s behavior that night than his fighting style.
“Anybody can have a certain night not like they normally have,” White said. “It’s how you’re acting when you’re fighting. The biggest problem I had with Anderson is the goofy (expletive) he did — slapping the ring, jumping up and down.
“He was acting absolutely insane. That was my biggest beef with Anderson Silva.”
It was the first time in seven WEC fights that Aldo was unable to finish his opponent.
The dominant fighter said that the broken streak of TKO wins didn’t bother him, however, giving credit to Faber for his defensive strategy throughout the fight.
“It wasn’t that I was more careful; I’m always careful when I go in the ring,” Aldo said. “What happened was Urijah did a good job of covering things up. The only strike I was landing was that leg kick, so I kept going to it. Every time I would try to go in and do something else, he would cover up.
“You have to take your hat off to Urijah. He had a good strategy to protect himself.”
The dominant win opens a lot of opportunities for the young champion down the road.
Although he’s defended his title only once, there are few obvious matchups for him in the featherweight division he hasn’t already faced except for Manny Gamburyan, who knocked out Mike Brown on the undercard Saturday.
If Aldo defends his belt a second time against Gamburyan, White sees an opportunity for the versatile fighter to move around between three different weight classes.
“I heard he wants to move down a weight class, win that belt and then move up to 155 and fight B.J. (Penn),” said White, although the current UFC lightweight champion is Frankie Edgar. “He could be the first guy to win three titles in mixed martial arts.
“I love that kind of stuff. It’s hard to do in this sport because there’s such a gap between weight classes. But I like stuff like that, where fighters want to cement their legacy and go down as one of the greatest ever.”
It’s interesting that White points to the UFC lightweight division for Aldo to break into and not the WEC. White has said before that the two lightweight divisions will become one at some point but hasn’t offered any timeline for the merger.
Whether the two divisions are combined or not, if and when Aldo would look to move up in weight, White says, Zuffa is free to make any matchup they choose.
“We can do whatever we want with our talent,” White said.
A similar move as far as changing weight classes may be in store for Faber as well.
Faber, who wrestled in the 133-pound division in college, could easily cut weight and pursue a title run in the bantamweight division.
“Urijah is still one of the best in the world. Jose is just that good where he shut him down tonight,” White said. “I don’t think Urijah is going anywhere.”
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.