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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo may have his opponent for UFC 147 in Brazil, or UFC 149 in Calgary, as MMAWeekly.com reports that he'll take on Duke Roufus product Erik Koch in his next Title defense.
With the booking of Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas today, as well as the upcoming featherweight main event between Dustin Poirier and "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel 3, Koch was the top unbooked featherweight, and many expected this bout to be made.
Roufus told MMATorch Columnist Rich Hansen earlier this month that Koch was more than willing to take the fight against Aldo, and it appears that's just what he'll get.
The 23-year-old Koch holds a 13-1 record, with his sole loss coming against Aldo's last challenger, Chad Mendes, by decision in the WEC. Since then, he's won four straight, including two in the Octagon. After knocking out Raphael Assuncao in his UFC debut last March, he defeated Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins last September. An injury took him out of a bout with Poirier in February, but now he'll leap into his title opportunity in his return from injury.
The bout will take place either in June in Brazil, or as planned at UFC 149 in Calgary. A determination and announcement on that front is expected shortly.
Penick's Analysis: This is a huge opportunity for Koch, and with everyone else booked he's definitely the right option here for the title fight. At 23, a loss to the best in the world will only be a minor career setback, and he absolutely has the skills to pull off the upset and become one of the youngest champions in UFC history himself. It should be a great title fight in the 145 lb. division, and whether it takes place in June in Brazil or July in Calgary it will be a really entertaining fight.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
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