Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), recently dropped from the UFC’s lightweight ranks to the featherweight division for a shot at 145-pound champion Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
Unfortunately for “Showtime” fans, Pettis suffered a knee injury in training and was forced to withdraw from the UFC 163 event.
This past week, Pettis stated that he wanted to return to the 155-pound division for a UFC 164 title shot against current lightweight champion Benson Henderson, whom he defeated while under the WEC banner.
However, that UFC 164 title shot was already promised to Canadian lightweight T.J. Grant (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who earned the position by defeating Gray Maynard via first round TKO earlier this spring.
Regardless, “Showtime” decided to campaign for the non-vacant challenger slot at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee:
“I can be 100 percent ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee,” Pettis claimed in a statement issued to FUEL TV’s post-UFC 161 show. “With all due respect to T.J. Grant, Milwaukee is my town, and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years.”
However, it appears that UFC President Dana White doesn’t seem to share Pettis’ enthusiasm (that he could be ready to fight again by the end of August). Although the injury won’t require surgery, he said it won’t be a short layoff:
“He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said he’s out for a good six weeks, and he needs a good (physical) therapist, and he needs to get his knee back,” White said. “That’s what a doctor said. He talked to a therapist in Milwaukee who told him three weeks. I could give a s–t what the therapist in Milwaukee thinks; I’m listening to the doctor. And I’m going to fly him out to Las Vegas to see Dr. (Steven) Saunders, too, for a second opinion.”
When “Showtime” pulled out of his scheduled UFC 163 title fight with Jose Aldo earlier last week, Chan Sung Jung (13-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was quickly substituted in by UFC officials. Now, White says he is open to Pettis fighting either the Aldo vs. Jung winner, or even the Henderson vs. Grant winner.
“He’s definitely in line (at featherweight), but we’ll see what happens,” White said. “He could do either – he could fight Aldo or he could fight the winner of [Henderson] and T.J. Grant.”
The WEC’s final lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, earned his title shot by defeating Donald Cerrone via first round KO at January’s UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson event.