Aldo is widely regarded as the greatest featherweight in MMA history. However, following multiple setbacks against the division's current generation, he underwent a career renaissance by dropping to bantamweight in pursuit of becoming one of the few UFC fighters to have ever won titles across multiple divisions.
Dillashaw, by contrast, has been a career bantamweight with the exception of one unsuccessful venture to flyweight. After a forced hiatus from the sport owing to a USADA suspension, Dillashaw returned with a much-needed win against top contender Cory Sandhagen to make his case for a shot at the title he never lost in the octagon.
With both Aldo and Dillashaw vying for UFC bantamweight gold, a potential matchup between the two is a bout the UFC should consider for the reasons this list will now explore.
#5. An interesting clash of styles
Despite holding a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Aldo prefers to engage his opponents using a tight, defensively-sound kickboxing style.
Historically, Aldo implemented powerful low kicks that knocked his opponents out of their stance. While most fighters are wary of opponents checking their kicks, Aldo circumvents this by first backing up his foes with combinations, then throwing a low kick as they move backwards.
It is significantly harder to check low kicks on the retreat as lifting the leg for a check while stepping backward upsets one's balance and renders fighters susceptible to knockdowns.
When combined with his intelligent boxing, Aldo is comfortable at every range. When his opponents close the distance, he pivots from tight angles, using his boxing to punish them. If they stay on the outside, Aldo catches them with low kicks and jabs.
T.J. Dillashaw, by contrast, is a flashier fighter. Initially a wrestler, he mixes in level changes with shifting combinations as he glides from one stance to the next. He is rarely a stationary target, moving his head after each strike as he flows from orthodox to southpaw, throwing in combinations.
Dillashaw always looks to set up his power strikes and, in particular, uses his wrestling to set up kicks. He establishes the threat or intent of a takedown early on. Once his opponent is concerned with the takedown threat, he dips low, teasing the takedown. As his foe drops their hands low to stuff the takedown shot, Dillashaw whips his leg to their exposed head.
This clash of styles makes a potential bout between Aldo and Dillashaw a guaranteed Fight of the Night.
#4. A win over Jose Aldo would secure T.J. Dillashaw a title fight
While T.J. Dillashaw bested Cory Sandhagen in his most recent UFC bout, the fight was hotly contested, with many scoring it in favor of Sandhagen. So, while Dillashaw has the win on his record, he might need a more decisive one to earn a title shot.
A win over Aldo, a former UFC champion on a three-fight win streak, would silence many of Dillashaw's doubters who question the merits of a title shot based off of a controversial split-decision win after a two-year absence.
#3. A win over T.J. Dillashaw would silence Jose Aldo's doubters
Just as Dillashaw might need an Aldo win to reinvigorate his career, Aldo could use a win over Dillashaw to answer doubters who question his record against other champions.
With the exception of one, all of the former featherweight kingpin's UFC losses came against other champions.
Aldo has lost to Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, Alexander Volkanovski, and Petr Yan. Some have used this to bring his mettle as a fighter into question, claiming that Aldo is skilled enough to consistently beat top contenders but not champions outside of Frankie Edgar.
A win over T.J. Dillashaw, a former two-time bantamweight titleholder, would improve Aldo's standing in his critics' eyes.
#2. The fight is versatile from a booking perspective
A fight involving T.J. Dillashaw and Jose Aldo is one the UFC can book in a multitude of ways. From the UFC's perspective, it is a fight that offers a breadth of booking options depending on the promotion's interests.
If they're assembling a stacked pay-per-view card to garner as much hype as possible, this is a fight that can easily take up either a co-main event slot or the one right below it.
Alternatively, Jose Aldo and T.J. Dillashaw could headline a UFC Fight Night event. Either way, it's a bout that would get fans excited and suit a main event or a featured PPV slot.
#1. There is a built-in storyline the UFC could use to promote the bout
Both Dillashaw and Aldo wholeheartedly believe that they deserve a title shot against reigning champion Aljamain Sterling. Furthermore, both fighters have recently addressed each other.
In an interview with ESPN, T.J. Dillashaw expressed his admiration for Aldo as a legend of the smaller divisions, branding him an idol while showing an interest in fighting him for his first title defense should he reclaim the belt.
Aldo, however, spoke more harshly of T.J.Dillashaw, asserting that he is more deserving of a title shot due to the questionable nature of Dillashaw's win over Sandhagen and the controversy that led to the former bantamweight champion's hiatus.
The UFC's recent trend of using disagreements between fighters to drum up fan interest in bouts renders the situation easier for their promotional efforts.