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Wednesday, 02/06/2013, 08:48 pm

EXCLUSIVE | Anthony Pettis: “I Was Wrecking Things At 55″ No Need To Drop Down Until Now | UFC NEWS

 

26-year-old Anthony Pettis has accomplished quite a lot in his short time in mixed martial arts. The 3rd degree Taekwondo blackbelt holds an impressive 16-2 record with seven wins coming by way of knockout and six by submission. He was the last reigning WEC Lightweight Champion having defeated current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson for that distinction.

Since coming over to the UFC in June of 2011, Showtime is 3-1 with wins over Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone. His lone loss came via decision to Clay Guida in his Octagon debut at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.

Pettis’ performances continue to be more impressive with each passing fight. It seems the more he fights inside the Octagon the more comfortable he becomes. His confidence is growing by leaps and bounds inside the cage and out. Pettis has never been known to be shy and has no problem going after things he wants. After defeating Lauzon via headkick knockout in the first round at UFC 144, Pettis asked for a shot at Henderson and the UFC lightweight crown.

Unfortunately for Pettis he was on the shelf for the rest of 2012, but made a huge statement upon his return. After being called out and having his manhood questioned by Cerrone, the two met on Saturday January 26 in Chicago on the UFC on Fox 6 card. It took all of 2:35 for Pettis to dispatch of Cowboy via TKO. Afterwards UFC President Dana White announced that Pettis would meet the winner of the upcoming UFC lightweight title bout between Henderson, the reigning champion and Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez. Those two will meet on April 20 in San Jose at UFC on Fox 7.

Pettis didn’t want to leave anything to chance, especially considering he has already had one UFC lightweight title shot snatched out from under his feet. He was scheduled to meet the winner of the Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard title fight that took place at UFC 125 on January 1, 2011, but because the bout was ruled a draw the UFC immediately paired those two up again leaving Pettis out in the cold. This time the Duke Roufus trained fighter wasn’t about to wait around, he saw an opportunity and seized the moment.

Pettis sent Dana White a shocking text message immediately following this past Saturday’s UFC Featherweight Championship bout between Jose Aldo and Edgar asking to be the next challenger to Aldo’s title. No one saw this coming, not even his younger brother Sergio who said he found out about it on Twitter at 2 in the morning.

“The biggest reason I never went down to 145 was because of my teammate, Erik Koch,” Pettis told BJPenn.Com Radio. “He was right there for a title shot, he almost fought Aldo. I always knew I could make ’45, but I was wrecking things at ’55 and I never had to drop down. I’ve been reading some of the blogs and people are claiming I’m scared to fight Henderson, but it’s nothing like that. It wasn’t anything that I saw during the fight, like he had a weakness in his game or I could beat him here or do this to him.”

“Aldo’s a great fighter and I’m in this game to fight the best and fight the fights that people want to see. I think all the fans want to see this fight, I can make ’45. You have one of the toughest guys in his division just wrecking it and he’s considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters. That right there just amuses me and has me interested in this fight.”

Pettis was on hand in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events center to witness the Aldo-Edgar match-up. They were originally scheduled to face off at UFC 153 in October with Edgar replacing Koch who had gotten injured. This time around Aldo got hurt in a motorcycle accident forcing the fight to be pushed back a few months. Thankfully the fans were sent home happy as the two men battled for five rounds, but ultimately Aldo kept his belt with a unanimous decision victory. Pettis was impressed with both fighters and enjoyed watching them compete against one another.

“I thought it was a great fight, you had two top level fighters and Edgar is tough as they come,” said Pettis. “You can never count the guy out and Aldo is so clean with his skills. When you have two guys like that in the Octagon it’s going to be a close fight. I thought it was more of Aldo winning, a lot of people thought Frankie had it closer or the judges’ scorecards were off. I thought Aldo did enough to keep his belt, it was a very interesting fight. These guys did work and that’s what the UFC is all about, putting the best in the world against each other.”

Right now the only thing that is known about the Pettis-Aldo fight is the date the fight will take place. They are scheduled to meet on August 3rd, but the UFC hasn’t announced a venue or whether or not the bout will be televised on pay-per-view or perhaps a UFC on Fox event. White did mention four possible destinations and according to Pettis it doesn’t matter where they fight, he is just anxious for the opportunity to fight Aldo and capture a UFC championship.

“I’m still waiting on the details myself, I have heard four cities mentioned,” Showtime mentioned. “I’ve heard it could be either Texas, Chicago, Brazil or Vegas. I’m just like everyone else, I’m just waiting to hear where I’m fighting. It’s funny because we won’t know until everyone else knows. It doesn’t matter, I fought Henderson in his hometown. If we’re going to Brazil, let’s do Brazil, if we’re going to Vegas, let’s do Vegas. We can do it in my backyard in Chicago, I’m excited for this fight. It’s one of those fights where I just think about it and I want to train.”

While Pettis is willing to fight wherever the UFC tells him to, he does have a preference, but the one constant is his desire to fight the best and please the fans at the same time.

“Chicago is my hometown and I just fought there in my last fight so Chicago is where I want to fight at for sure,” admitted Pettis. “Vegas is the fight capital of the world, I think this is a superfight and everyone wants to see it. You have two guys, one being Aldo who’s been champion for a long time and me, I’m making waves and I feel this is my time and I have to go for these opportunities.”

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