Anthony Pettis Says He’d “Have No Problem With Fighting BJ Penn”
“BJ is one of those guys that I look up to,” said UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. “If a fight [with him] ever did happen, it would be an honor to fight him. It’s BJ Penn – he’s one of the best lightweights of all time. I have no problem with fighting him.”
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Though UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is currently sidelined with a knee injury, the 155-lb. fighter is looking at the rest of his division eager to give every possible contender a shot at his belt.
“I think anybody at 155 is something that could happen,” Pettis said on a recent appearance on MMAJunkie Radio. “They all want the belt. I know how it is to chase that dream.”
The top of the list for many fans is a super fight between Pettis and current UFC featherweight title holder Jose Aldo. The two were supposed to fight earlier in the year at 145 lbs., but Pettis pulled out with an injury. And despite the fact that Aldo has a fight lined up for February against Ricardo Lamas, Pettis feels that the two champions will be facing one another in the Octagon soon enough.
“He has a fight in front of him on Super Bowl weekend,” Pettis said, “so Aldo is going to move up. It’s still definitely a possibility. I think Dana White wants to see it, the fans want to see it, and I want to make it happen.”
Of course, Aldo isn’t even one of the many fighters sitting amongst the top of the UFC’s lightweight division. Next to face Pettis was Josh Thomson, but Pettis’ injuries forced him out of their scheduled UFC on FOX 9 bout.
Thomson himself was a replacement for T.J. Grant, who is still suffering from a concussion he sustained earlier in the year. That leaves a number of contenders, including the former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson or the former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez – to name a few.
“I think the division needs some time to play out,” Pettis said. “When I was coming up for a title shot, there were so many number-one contenders I couldn’t get a title fight. Now, there’s really now clear No. 1 contenders.”
It’s partly that logic, Pettis would go on to say, that has the UFC waiting for his return to action rather than implementing an interim champion.
“I don’t want any interim champ getting created,” he said. “I don’t want there to be any confusion about who’s the best in the world at 155, so my whole thing is get the surgery, move past it, and move forward.
“I’m that guy that takes fights. Everybody is talking trash on Twitter – ‘Pettis is always injured, he’s backing out of fights’ – I’ve backed out of one fight in my life, and this is the second one. It sucks to do it, but injuries happen. It’s just part of the sport. This [is] one of those injuries that I can’t keep going on. If I could, I would fight the fight. I can’t even check a kick; I can’t even kick… I never was injury prone, but the last couple of years with the shoulder surgery and the knees, I just can’t catch a break. I feel like I just need some time to rest the body.”
During that time off, Pettis will be able to sit back and watch the development of the UFC’s lightweight division. With a number of top-ten fighters booked for bouts in the coming months, the divisional landscape is sure to see some changes, and a possible top-contender could rise to challenge the belt.
&Pettis will also be able to see the return of one of the legends of the sport, BJ Penn, as the former two-division UFC champion coaches the next season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ opposite former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. And watch Pettis will, as he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of fighting Penn.
“I think it’s going to hurt him to cut to 145,” Pettis said of Penn’s scheduled featherweight bout with Edgar that will conclude their stints on TUF. “BJ is one of those guys that I look up to. If a fight ever did happen, it would be an honor to fight him. It’s BJ Penn – he’s one of the best lightweights of all time. I have no problem with fighting him.”