You’ve got to understand Anthony “Showtime” Pettis‘ frustration. After winning the final WEC Lighweight Championship by defeating current UFC Lightweight Champion Ben “Smooth” Henderson back at WEC 53, many believed he would be on the short list of contenders to face then UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar. When Edgar fought to a draw with Gray Maynard less than a month after WEC 53, Pettis’ title hopes would be put on the backburner. A UD loss via dry humping and shoulder-strikes to Clay Guida at the TUF 13 Finale in June of 2011 would all but completely derail those championship aspirations.
Cut to February of 2012. After defeating Maynard via fourth round TKO in their rematch, Edgar would face off against arguably his toughest challenge to date, former WEC champion Ben Henderson, who was riding a four fight win streak since losing to Pettis. The event was UFC 144, and kicking off the main card would be an intriguing match-up between Pettis and Joe Lauzon. “Showtime” would live up to his nickname, steamrolling Lauzon with a head kick knockout in just under two minutes, and Henderson would clearly defeat Edgar by unanimous decision. Though Pettis had only scored two straight in the octagon, Dana was damn near forcing Edgar to drop to 145 and face Jose Aldo, so it seemed as if we were destined for Pettis/Henderson II.
But then, it happened. Out of nowhere, Edgar was granted a rematch with Henderson, and Pettis once again found himself screwed out of yet another title shot, against a man he had beaten in a title fight nonetheless. So perhaps the recent comments made by “Showtime’s” manager are not without merit. Here’s what Ariel Helwani said during an episode of UFC Tonight after speaking with Pettis’ manager:
I spoke to Anthony’s manager just a few hours ago and he told me that he was really disappointed, but he respects the decision. He would consider going down to 145 to fight Aldo. This is definitely something to monitor.
Something to monitor, indeed. If Pettis were to drop to 145, you’ve got to imagine he would be granted a title shot off the bat. Yes, the upcoming match between Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier has title implications written all over it, but aside from that, the current 145 pound division is rather vacant in terms of title challengers. And let’s be honest, a fight between Pettis and Aldo would not only be a huge test for both men, but a potential fight of the year candidate as well.
It simply makes too much sense, both in terms of marketing and the 145 lb. division, for this fight not too happen. Sure, Pettis hasn’t fought in the division before, but Ronda Rousey proved that that stipulation is meaningless. And since Dana White is willing to grant undeserved immediate rematches out of sympathy, why not a title shot? It’s not like the UFC has established definite rules for what warrants one; look no further than Brock Lesnar for proof of this. I guess a lot is riding on whether or not the winner of the Poirier/Jung match is able to walk away unscathed, but in the meantime, why not match these two up, nawmsayin’?
Should Pettis drop to 145? And if so, do you think he should get an immediate title shot, or perhaps a tune up fight against an Eric Koch-type fighter? If I were to guess, I’d say Pettis wouldn’t want to risk missing out on another shot, so this drop is only happening if he’s guaranteed a shot at Aldo. If so, prepare for a barnburner, Potato Nation.