EXCLUSIVE (Part 2) | Anthony Pettis: I Feel Like I Have the Best Striking in MMA | UFC NEWS
To read part one of our interview with Anthony Pettis click here:
The mixed martial arts world waits with great anticipation for August 3rd to arrive. Barring injuries we will witness what could possibly be one of the best fights of 2013 when UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo defends his title against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis at a yet to be named venue or event.
It’s completely understandable that so much focus is going into that fight, but let’s not forget the fact that just one week before the Aldo fight was announced, Pettis had decimated Donald Cerrone in the first round at UFC on Fox 6. Afterwards UFC President Dana White announced that Pettis would face the winner of the April 20 showdown between UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson and Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez.
There is much more to Anthony Pettis than his decision to forgo the lightweight title shot and call out Aldo. His performance against Cerrone was masterful and shocked a lot of fans who thought the two would go to war for 15 minutes. Pettis, however wasn’t surprised with the way things ended in Chicago.
“No man, I had a long layoff, I was out for a year,” Pettis told BJPenn.Com Radio. “The whole time I was off this guy was pushing my buttons and calling me out. He was saying I was afraid to fight him and that I was a fighter who tried to hide out behind one of my wins. That was not the case, I was really injured. I had surgery on my shoulder, when you have shoulder surgery you really can’t do much, it takes a long time to recover. I had a lot of aggression built up, it kind of sucked that it only lasted about two minutes because I had a lot planned.”
Fans, Pettis and Henderson himself have been clamoring for a rematch between the two former WEC Lightweight Champions since the two met at WEC 53 in what the last bout ever to be contested in a WEC cage. Pettis defeated Henderson by the narrowest of margins, many feel he sealed the victory when he landed the “Showtime” kick in the fifth round. Now that he has dropped to featherweight Henderson-Pettis II will have to wait, but should Bendo defeat Melendez in April and Pettis upset Aldo in August there could be a scenario in which Pettis becomes the second man in UFC history to try and hold two UFC titles simultaneously.
“That would be amazing, that’s something that has never been done before,” said Showtime. “You can’t look past a guy like Jose Aldo. I’m dropping ten pounds and fighting out of my comfort zone. I’m fighting the champion for 25 minutes so if you look at it all the odds are stacked against me. We’ll see what happens, Henderson has to do his thing. I’m sure he will, he should win his fight against Gil. I have my work cut out for me with Aldo. He’s a scary dude, but I feel I have a fighting style that’s hard for a lot of guys to beat.”
Aldo has yet to face a fighter with the stand-up skills comparable to Pettis. For the most part he has faced guys with solid grappling backed up by adequate striking. Mark Hominick probably posed the biggest threat to Aldo on the feet, but it’ll be a whole new ballgame once he steps in there with Pettis.
“I feel like I have one of the best stand-up games in mixed martial arts,” Pettis said confidently. “It’s only getting better, I’m 26-years-old and I’m always learning something new. I’m always adding stuff to my game and evolving as a fighter. I feel like I’m one of the best strikers in MMA, I just need the time to prove it. All these other guys have 25 minute fights while my last two fights were four minutes combined. You haven’t really seen my full potential yet.”