Anthony Pettis Earned a Title Shot, But Will Have to Wait
Anthony Pettis is right back where he started in the UFC. That is not a bad place to be, either.
Last night at UFC on Fox 6, the lightweight fighter put away Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone with ease by using a devastating kick to the liver to get the first-round TKO stoppage. The fight also featured Pettis landing a knee by jumping off the fence. The finishing kick scored him the $50,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus. Many analysts and fans viewed the matchup as a possible number one contender fight, although the declaration was not made official.
After the fight, UFC President Dana White posted this tweet:
Pettis =AMAZING!!!! Ok I'm sold
— Dana White (@danawhite) January 27, 2013
The tweet sparked FOX correspondent Ariel Helwani to ask White during a post-event interview if Pettis will be next to fight for the lightweight title against the winner of the UFC on FOX 7 matchup in April between UFC champion Benson Henderson vs. Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez.
“No doubt about it,” White responded. “Is anyone else not sold on him?”
"I think the Melendez fight is pretty set, but (Pettis) is next," White said. "I can't say enough good things about the kid. That was incredible, tonight. Obviously, his big, all-time highlight will be the kick off the fence, but tonight was unbelievable. The knee off the fence, it was phenomanal."
Pettis is one of only two fighters to claim a win over the champion Henderson. That fight took place at WEC 53, a bout to name the WEC's last-ever lightweight champion at promotion's final event before folding into the UFC. Their encounter was a close and exciting affair, but Pettis was able to secure a unanimous decision victory by jumping off the cage and knocking Henderson down with the now-legendary “Showtime Kick” at the end of the fifth round.
This is familiar territory for Pettis. He was supposed to fight for the title against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at UFC 125 in 2011, but that fight resulted in one of the most infamous draws in UFC history. The outcome caused “Showtime” to be pushed aside so Edgar and Maynard could fight again. Not wanting to sit on the sidelines, Pettis opted to take a fight against Clay Guida. He lost a unanimous decision to Guida and, in turn, lost his title shot.
This time, Pettis does not want to make the same mistake.
“I mean, if it’s a guaranteed title shot, I’m waiting,” Pettis stated at the UFC on FOX 6 post-fight press conference. “That’s what my goals are. That was my goal this year. If it’s next, then yeah, I’m definitely going to wait, get better and get what’s mine.”
Check out all of our UFC on FOX 6 news.