"Showtime" on Aldo: He's going through opponents like crazy
At WEC's final event back in 2010, Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson fought in an all-time classic that saw the two men take each other to their limits, culminating with one of the greatest moves ever seen in MMA, "The Showtime Kick".
So, when Pettis earned a title shot by defeating Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 6, many assumed he would wait for his lightweight title shot and possibly challenge Henderson again. But once again, as we have seen, anything can happen in MMA.
Such was the case when Dana White announced that "Showtime" texted him about his desire to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight crown, a division he has actually never fought in. So what was to be gained in a bout where he would need to cut weight and fight someone as dangerous as Jose Aldo, as opposed to a man he has already beaten?
According to Pettis himself, as stated on UFC Tonight, it's all about beating the best:
"He's good where I'm good -- he likes to stand, trade and bang, and I feel like I'm more well-rounded and can offer him a big challenge.... Aldo is a tougher fight [than Ben Henderson] ... that's why I asked for it. He's going through opponents like crazy. He just beat the last 155-pound champion. I think, for me, Aldo is definitely the tougher challenge. I already beat Ben Henderson once and I think I'm going to be doing it again soon. But, I think Aldo is the guy who is on the radar."
While its is unfortunate for men like Ricardo Lamas and The Korean Zombie to not get their title shot, you cant help but respect what Pettis is trying to do. In an MMA world where men fight for the easiest path to a title shot, against the easiest of opponents, Anthony Pettis is showing that for him it is about legacy. As phenomenal as Benson Henderson is, Jose Aldo is near the top in many pound-for-pound rankings.
UFC Tonight analyst Kenny Florian agrees with Pettis' decision, though he also compliments the striking prowess of the champion.
“It’s an unbelievable fight because Anthony Pettis is probably the craftiest striker in the UFC, second to Anderson Silva," said former UFC contender Kenny Florian. "He’s fearless. And you’re talking about Jose Aldo - the toughest thing about his game is his striking. Right now Pettis can go tit for tat with Jose Aldo’s striking. I don’t think we’ve seen that.”
Jose Aldo is a conundrum that no one has figured out. In fact, no one has come close. Not Urijah Faber. Not Kenny Florian. Not Chad Mendes. And not even Frankie Edgar, despite having the best performance of anyone in recent memory. At only 26, the scary part is Aldo may be at his prime, meaning this is the most dangerous version of him we have ever seen. Besides Anderson Silva, Aldo has proved that he is perhaps MMA's best striker, however Pettis may not be far behind.
And now, according to a light heavyweight contender, we have another superfight on our hands.
“I never saw it coming," said Chael Sonnen. "Pettis wins the golden ticket. He’s been the number-one contender, but nobody thought he’d cash it in down a weight class. That’s what makes it a super fight. It’s only done in our fantasies. He also saved the division, because where do you go? Frankie Edgar steps aside and you have to bring in some new blood.”
For Pettis to defeat Aldo, it would solidify him as one of the best in the world. However if all goes according to his plan, he will be the best in the world, as he stated he is not finished with the 155 title:
"I'm not sure if [I'll stay at 145 pounds if I beat Aldo]," he said. "We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there. My goal is to be the 155 pound champ."
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