With José Aldo seemingly sticking around in the UFC (at least for the time being) at 145lb and with Conor McGregor eyeing a future at 155lb, who might Aldo fight in the New Year?

Earlier this week, the Brazilian’s coach, Andre Pederneiras told Combate that the fighter’s request to terminate his current UFC contract to pursue other sports was denied, leaving only one thing left to do – fight.

“Aldo wants to do the other things, but in the conversations we had (with the UFC), it became clear that they’re not going to let him do that,” Pederneiras said. “There’s nothing we can do. We have to fight.”

Should Conor McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez next Saturday night at UFC 205 and add the UFC lightweight championship to his collection which already includes the featherweight title, he will be forced to drop one. Should he decide to stay at 155lb, which is widely considered to be the healthiest weight class for him, Fighters Only has searched the featherweight landscape to see who Aldo could test himself against.

Max Holloway

Max Holloway shares an interesting stat with this weekend’s UFC Fight Night Mexico co-headliner, Tony Ferguson. They are the only fighters in the history of the UFC who have won eight fights in a row without getting a title shot. Holloway could have rested on his current streak and waited it out – he has, in fact, been calling Aldo out for some time – but he’s just accepted a fight with Anthony Pettis at UFC 206. A win over yet another marquee name like Pettis would surely be enough to secure a title shot.

 Anthony Pettis

Speaking of Pettis, he was supposed to fight Aldo once upon a time. The two were booked to throw down at back in 2013 in UFC 163 main event until ‘Showtime’ withdrew because of a knee injury. He finally made the cut to featherweight in August when he defeated Charles Oliveira at UFC on FOX 21. A win over Holloway at UFC 206 and theft of his win-streak thunder, coupled with his own name value and history with Aldo, could cause that 145lb championship match to be remade. Aldo even told Brazilian TV show Revista Combate “a fight with Pettis would sell a lot more than Holloway” a few months ago.

 Dominick Cruz

Should the 135lb champion successfully defend his title at UFC 207, why not allow him to jump up a weight class and put on a super fight with Aldo. Cruz has said in numerous interviews that it’s time he gets big fights and big paydays to make up for the years he spent on the sidelines due to injury. A fight with Aldo to potentially add a second title to his collection would certainly tick those boxes. At a time when new owners of the UFC, WME-IMG needs to put on as many big pay-per-view worthy fights to recoup some of that $4 billion they invested, this would fit the bill. Earlier this year Cruz told ESPN, “I want a fight that makes sense, that gets the people excited. A fight bringing two belts together at 145lb – that gets people excited.”