A Former Champion Stands Between Irene Aldana Potentially Fighting For Gold
UFC Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes has cleaned out the top contender’s thanks to her dominant power. As a result, the division needs new blood. Irene Aldana believes she can fill the void that is within 135.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Aldana (12-5) discussed her goals within the division. “Robles” is scheduled to fight Holly Holm on August 1 at a UFC Fight Night event. The sixth-ranked fighter in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings, Aldana is on a two-fight win streak. Beating rising star Ketlen Vieira for her first loss, Aldana believes taking out a former champion could lead her to Nunes.
“I don’t know what type of plans they (UFC) have for me, but I think, me personally, this is a fight where it is very clear that I could be the next contender to the title, beating a former champion and defeating someone of the level of Ketlen Vieira, who I beat in December,” Aldana stated. “So I’ve gone through big names. In 2019, I went through important fights and the fact that I’m facing Holly Holm, I think it’s very clear that I could be challenging for the title.”
Aldana joined the UFC in 2016 following a stint in Invicta. She is 5-3 with the promotion and 3-1 in her last four fights, all in 2019. After losing to Raquel Pennington in July, she rebounded with a unanimous decision win against Vanessa Melo in September. By beating Holm, the fighter out of Guadalajara has a shot at being a fresh face for Nunes, who is set to take the rest of the year off.
Holm (13-5) is a former UFC Bantamweight Champion, beating Ronda Rousey for the title in 2015. She has gone 3-5 since then, losing to Nunes at UFC 239 in July 2019. “The Preacher’s Daughter” last fought at UFC 246 in January, beating Pennington via unanimous decision. Ranked second in the rankings, Holm is part of the guard Aldana is trying to move past.
“The division is evolving,” Aldana went on to say. “The division is getting stronger, there’s strong contenders and I think we’re going to see very technical fights, very exciting fights in this division. I think us as contenders, we’re growing a lot and of course we can pose a challenge to Amanda.”
At 32, Aldana is still growing. Now fighting all over the world, the former Invicta FC Bantamweight Title challenger has taken what she knows and adds it to what she is currently learning. She hopes the results can speak for themself.
“… there’s always a lot to learn and a lot to evolve, but I know if I fall I can pick myself up again,” Aldana said. “But right now I have a good mentality, I feel strong, I feel optimum physically, mentally and technically. I think I’m at my best.”