Tag Archive for Pettis

Anthony Pettis Dropping to Featherweight for Aug. 3 UFC Title Fight Against Jose Aldo

UFC lightweight contender Anthony Pettis will cut to featherweight to challenge 145-pound champion Jose Aldo.
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Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis set for August 3 UFC event

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Late on Saturday night, Anthony Pettis sent a text message to Dana White asking to drop down to the featherweight division to challenge champion Jose Aldo. By Monday afternoon, he’d hadn’t even received a response from White, but a few hours later, the match was all but a done deal.

Overnight, White told USA Today the match will happen.

According to the UFC president, it will take place on August 3, with venues in Brazil, Las Vegas, Chicago and Texas the leading contenders to host the event.

On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Pettis explained that he was tired of waiting for a chance to fight for the championship in the lightweight division, where he has been a contender since the WEC was absorbed into the UFC while he was its reigning champion.

He had been believed to be on deck to fight the winner of the upcoming tilt between lightweight champ Benson Henderson and challenger Gilbert Melendez, but with that fight not occurring until April 20, Pettis would have been a long wait, and that turned him off that idea, and on to another one.

“I want to fight for a belt, man,” he said. “That’s the intriguing part for me. It’s another belt, and I don’t think the weight cut would be impossible. I think it’s something I could pretty easily do.”

Pettis said he usually cuts only about two pounds to qualify for the 155-pound weight class, making the drop to 145 fairly simple.

Pettis (16-2) is coming off back-to-back knockout wins, over Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon, respectively. It is believed his dynamic striking style will combine with Aldo’s power and speed to generate an action-packed bout.

Aldo (22-1) is the owner of a 15-fight win streak, including a perfect 4-0 run in the UFC. He originally captured the championship back in November 2009, when it was the WEC title. He’s since held it for nearly 1,200 days, successfully defending it six times. During that time, he’s already faced three former lightweights (Manny Gamburyan, Kenny Florian and Frankie Edgar) who moved down a division in hopes of gaining a championship there.

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Anthony Pettis ready to become two-division UFC champion: ‘I’m tired of waiting’

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It started inconspicuously enough. Seated cageside at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday night, No. 1 UFC lightweight contender Anthony Pettis watched as his former WEC stablemate, Jose Aldo, defended his featherweight title for the sixth consecutive time, this time edging out Frankie Edgar in UFC 156′s “superfight” main event.

Pettis is expected to fight the winner Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez for the UFC lightweight strap, the culmination of three frustrating years spent trying to regain what was rightfully his. However Henderson-Melendez doesn’t take place until late-April, meaning best case scenario, Pettis will once again be sidelined for a sizeable chunk of the year while he awaits his title shot.

Pettis has been here before, and things didn’t quite work out the way they were supposed to. So this time the 26-year-old took matters into his own hands, pulling out his cell phone and texting UFC President Dana White, letting the boss know, he wanted Aldo, and he’d drop to featherweight to do it.

“I’m tired of waiting, man,” Pettis admitted on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I’m just tired of getting passed up. Who knows what happens in the lightweight fight. Who knows what injuries are going to occur and how long that’s going to take.

“I was in the same position twice. I was there, I was the next guy in line, and it all depends on who the UFC wants to see fight. That’s what it’s all about. I think it’s who sell the tickets, who can sell the pay-per-views, and who do the fans want to see fight.”

Pettis has always focused on staying busy in the past. That’s how he found himself in this situation in the first place. As the final WEC lightweight champion, “Showtime” was scheduled to challenge the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II for the UFC strap back in 2011. Of course, the bout wound up ending in a draw, a rematch was promptly booked, and Pettis elected to accept a tune-up fight against Clay Guida — which he lost — instead of waiting on the sidelines.

“I think he’s really spooked, for sure, about having to repeat of a few years ago,” echoed Pettis’ head coach, Duke Roufus. “I mean, I remember watching the [Edgar vs. Maynard II] fight on New Year’s Eve, going, ‘Wow, we’ve got us a great title fight coming up with Frankie Edgar, and then the tables were turned. In this business nothing is sure.

“There’s the injuries, a close decision, does someone want a rematch right away. It’s just hard these days. Anything and everything can happen.”

For Pettis, it’s that fear of the unknown, and the inactivity that it brings, that led his to callout of Aldo. Shelved with a catalog of injuries for a majority of the last 12 months, including a frustratingly nagging shoulder injury, Pettis fought just once in 2012. According to Roufus, that struggle “lit a serious fire under him to get some things accomplished.”

Despite fighting and soundly defeating Donald Cerrone less than two weeks ago, Pettis is already back in the gym, training hard in case either Henderson or Melendez suffers an injury. His relentless focus, compounded with the fact that he isn’t a big lightweight by any means, leads Pettis to believe he would have no issues cutting down to challenge Aldo.

“I want to fight for a belt, man. That’s the intriguing part for me,” Pettis explained. “It’s another belt, and I don’t think the weight cut would impossible. I think it’s something I could pretty easily do.

“I only cut like two pounds to make 155. I have a clean diet and I barely cut any weight when it’s time to get down to ’55. I mean, if my teammate Erik Koch can do it, I’m pretty sure I could.”

Not surprisingly, Pettis’ coach agrees with his claims.

“Anthony’s got a weird body,” said Roufus. “He’s not a huge 155′er. He’s kind of a tweener. His last three fights he hasn’t really even gone to the sauna to cut. His nutrition is on point. His strength and conditioning [is on point]. We just do a light workout in the morning to make weight the last three fights that we’ve fought. He’s very disciplined in that side of his career.”

With his bold callout, Pettis now finds himself in a strange, but enviable, position. White told the attending media at UFC 156′s post-fight scrum that he was quite interested in a Aldo vs. Pettis title fight. From the outside, it appears that the onus may inevitably come down on Pettis to decide which champion he wishes to challenge.

Though if he had his wish, “Showtime” would fight both.

“Right now it’s so fresh and brand new, that I’m just trying to clear two paths to get to both of these belts,” explained Pettis. “I mean, they say, ‘You can fight Jose Aldo in three months, and then you get the winner of Henderson-Gilbert,’ then I’m signing the contract today.

“That’s up to the UFC. I’m not going to make any decisions or close any doors until they decide what they want to see. I put my opinion out there, I’m up for either one, and I guess it’s just what would make sense for you guys now.”

For what it’s worth, Roufus prefers Pettis rematch Henderson — “Anthony has his number, and Ben knows that,” he stated flatly — though he’d be wholly supportive of either bout, as Pettis “matches up quite well” with Aldo. Either way, Roufus is confident his star pupil will come away victorious.

Pettis has often talked about cementing his place at the top of the sport. And after several years of snakebitten luck, he now has a unique opportunity to do just that.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” Pettis said in closing. “[Aldo] is on the top pound-for-pound list, and that’s where I want to be at. I want to be the best fighter in the world.

“I’m looking for the big fights. I think both of these fights are big, and it’s kind of just up to the UFC to pick which one they want me to be part of.

“Once they come forward and tell me something, because honestly I don’t know anything, I can look at my options and see what happens. At 155, I’m comfortable, man. I feel I’m the No. 1 contender. I’m right there, so it’s not a fact of I’m trying to drop weight, to cut down, because it’s an easy way to a belt. It’s just, I want to fight. I just want to fight. This is all I do. A year off just motivates me, and I want to make this my year.”

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The MMA Hour with Anthony Pettis, Phil Davis, Mike Chandler, Melvin Manhoef, Mark Pavelich

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The MMA Hour is back in your life on Monday. Below is a rundown of who will be stopping by and when:

1 p.m. ET — Anthony Pettis will talk about his desire to fight Jose Aldo next.

1:10 p.m. — Pettis’ coach Duke Roufus will also discuss the possibility of Pettis vs. Aldo.

1:20 p.m. — Light heavyweight Phil Davis will preview his fight against Vinny Magalhaes at UFC 159.

1:40 p.m. — Bellator lightweight champion Mike Chandler will discuss what’s next for him after his recent win.

2 p.m. — We’ll answer your #themmahour questions on anything and everything going on in the MMA world. Hit us up on Twitter using that hash tag, leave a question in the comments section below, or give us a call. The best question will win a prize.

2:20 p.m. — Veteran Melvin Manhoef will discuss his desire to sign with the UFC.

2:40 p.m. — MFC president Mark Pavelich will talk about one of Canada’s longest-standing shows.

3 p.m. — We’ll update our “Ric’s Picks Challenge” after UFC 156.

Plus, we’ll be taking your calls on anything and everything. Got a question or comment? Give us a call at 1-888-418-4074.

Watch the show live below beginning at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT / 6 p.m. GMT. Subscribe to The MMA Hour on iTunes: audio feed here; video feed here. Download previous episodes here. Listen to the show via Stitcher here or via TuneIn here.

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Anthony Pettis Tired of Chasing After Title, Ready for Shot

Anthony Pettis has been here before.
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Anthony Pettis names one thing that could stop him from fighting the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez

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Anthony Pettis recently established himself as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight number one contender by pulverizing the liver of Donald Cerrone (watch it here) at the UFC on FOX 6 event held last Saturday night (Jan. 26, 2013) at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Now, he awaits the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez.

That’s assuming “Smooth” can finish off “El Nino” at UFC on FOX 7 and retain his 155-pound strap. Or, perhaps the former Strikeforce kingpin will bring an end to the contest and leave the HP Pavilion in San Jose with a new belt to add to his collection.

Pettis tells Sherdog’s “Beatdown” radio he doesn’t care who wins, as long as it’s decisive:

“Honestly, I don’t care [who wins] as long as we don’t have a decision that’s close. Somebody finish the fight so we’ll have a champ that I can fight. At this point, the belt’s been avoiding me. I’m tired of chasing after it. I’m tired of waiting and putting my career on hold. I just turned 26. I think I’m going to be entering my prime here in the next couple of years. I want to take full advantage of that. … I just want to make sure that it’s official and no matter what happens [between Henderson and Melendez] — a draw, a close decision, no one’s going to cry about the decision — that I’m next no matter what.”

Six of the last seven title fights in the UFC lightweight division have all resulted in immediate rematches (Edgar vs. Penn, Edgar vs. Maynard, Edgar vs. Henderson). “Showtime” was already victimized by the “Bully” fiasco in early 2011 and doesn’t want the same thing to happen between Henderson and Melendez on April 20.

Anyone think we establish a clear-cut winner for Pettis to get his hands on?

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UFC on FOX 6 in Tweets: Pros react to Johnson vs. Dodson, Rampage vs. Teixeira, Cerrone vs. Pettis

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Public hand-wringing was widespread when the UFC announced its newest, and smallest, division would be headlining 2013′s opening FOX card. However the anxiousness ultimately proved to be for naught, as Demetrious Johnson survived a few early scares to claw his way back and successfully defend his flyweight title against John Dodson in UFC on FOX 6′s breakneck main event.

The bout became a fitting cap-off for a roller-coaster night that had already witnessed a three-round farewell slugfest from Rampage Jackson and Glover Teixeira, plus Anthony Pettis staking his claim as the No. 1 lightweight contender with a highlight-reel knockout of Donald Cerrone. And like always, an outpouring of professional fighters took to Twitter to provide a running commentary as it all went down.

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JOHNSON EDGES DODSON

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RAMPAGE HEADS TOWARD THE EXIT

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SHOWTIME CRUMPLES CERRONE

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UFC on Fox 6 Bonuses: Demetrious Johnson, John Dodson, Anthony Pettis, Ryan Bader Net $50,000

Four men took home an extra $50,000 at Chicago’s United Center on Saturday night.
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Anthony Pettis thinks he’s ‘the best in the lightweight division’ after beating Donald Cerrone

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Anthony Pettis earns title shot, but will have to wait for fight to happen

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In 25 MMA fights and 29 professional kickboxing bouts, Donald Cerrone has only been stopped once. And that was via submission, never once by strikes.

On Saturday night at UFC on FOX 6, Anthony Pettis not only finished him with strikes, but did it quickly at just 2:35 into the first round. Pettis ended it with a liver kick after taking Cerrone apart standing up to that point, making the whole thing look easy.

The winner of the fight was expected to be in line for a lightweight title shot. Champion Benson Henderson has been announced as defending his title on UFC on FOX 7, which takes place April 20 in San Jose, Calif., with Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez as his opponent.

There are lots of factors that are working to Pettis’ advantage. The combination of how impressive Pettis looked with the fact he holds a win against Henderson – and that their previous fight was one of the most memorable fights in modern MMA history – made some wonder if UFC President Dana White was going to second guess the already announced title fight.

Pettis made his case with his fists and feet in the cage as well as his mouth, asking for the shot after the win. According to White, he’ll get it, but not right away.

“I think that Melendez is pretty set, but [Pettis is] next,” said White. “I can’t say enough good things about this guy. He was incredible tonight. His big all-time highlight will be the kick off the fence. Today he was unbelievable. The knee off the fence was unbelievable.”

Pettis was in this position once before. When he beat Henderson on Dec. 16, 2010, to become the final WEC lightweight champion, he was told that win would get him the next UFC title shot since WEC was closing down. He got so close that two weeks later, after champion Frankie Edgar retained his title with a draw against Gray Maynard, at the post-fight press conference, it was announced that Edgar and Pettis were meeting next. But barely an hour later, White, with more time to digest what happened in the Edgar vs. Maynard fight, changed his mind. Pettis could have sat and waited, but instead, he took a fight with Clay Guida. He lost that via decision.

In such a talent-rich division, the loss was going to take him out of contention for probably a year or more. That time frame increased when a series of injuries and a staph infection put him out of action since last February.

But Pettis simply denied the ring rust that many were expecting, as he entered the cage like he hadn’t lost any timing. “I’ve been doing tae kwon do since I was five,” said Pettis. “If you think about ring rust, you’ll probably have it after a year off. Me, I couldn’t wait to get back in there.”

But he’s in no rush to do it again. He learned the lesson of the Guida fight and right now will be happy to watch Henderson vs. Melendez and sit until the winner is ready to face him.

“If it’s a guaranteed title shot, I’m waiting,” he said. “Winning the title in 2013 is what my goals are.”

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