When “Showtime” first entered the promotion, he did so as the final lightweight champion in World Extreme Cagefighting history, a title Anthony earned by defeating current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
Originally, Pettis was told by UFC officials that he would be given the winner of a 155-pound title fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard that went down at UFC 125. Unfortunately for Pettis, that UFC 125 title- fight ended in a draw and an immediate rematch was awarded to “The Bully” and “The Answer”.
With that, Pettis decided to accept a fight with Clay Guida, only to come up short on the judges’ scorecards at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 Finale.
Skip forward 3 octagon wins later and “Showtime” had once again put himself in great position for a crack at UFC gold. After defeating Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at January’s UFC on FOX: Dodson vs. Johnson event, Pettis was offered a shot at longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
The Pettis vs. Aldo fight was scheduled for UFC 163 in Brazil this August and was one of the most anticipated MMA bouts of the year. That was until a knee injury suffered in training, forced Pettis to withdraw from the event.
Just days after the devastating incident, Pettis appeared on “The MMA Hour” to discuss his most recent setback, as well as his history of bad luck when it comes to title fights.
On how the injury occured:
“The last day of the press conference in Brazil, the UFC took us out there to do some press and media, to meet the local Brazilian press. Me and Phil Davis decided to do some rolling, before we went back on to the airplane, so we went down to my coach’s gym. I think it was the last round, the last five minutes, my knee got caught in a weird position, and I heard a pop. I thought it was alright, I got on the plane, and it blew up on me. I had to get an MRI the next day and the UFC caught wind of it. It is what it is, man. I guess I got the worst luck when it comes to title shots.”
Pettis pleaded to his Roufusport fight team to not pull him from the fight, but knew it was the best decision to bow out. Now, the talented striker feels he is it at the end of the line in not one, but two divisions:
“Yeah, man that really happened. I didn’t want this fight to get pulled. I already knew what would happen if I lost that fight, like I’m in right now. I’m stuck on the back of the bus again in two weight classes. I did everything under my power to make the fight happen, the UFC is looking out for what’s best for my health, I can’t knock them for looking out for my health. I can’t believe it happened, man. The only good thing about this injury is that it doesn’t require surgery.”
After having another title fight “slip” through his fingers, a distraught Pettis is uncertain what the future holds for him, wondering if it’s just not in the cards for him to compete for a world title:
“Maybe it’s not meant for me to fight for a title. Maybe 145 is not meant for me. I have no idea man, I’m just in this funk for the last couple of days, just trying to figure out what’s going to happen for the rest of my career. Do I just keep fighting and figure it out from there? Do I try to get a title shot? I mean, it’s hard to come back from.”
“Showtime” lobbied for a chance to to compete against Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee, stating he would be more than ready to compete despite his injury. Anthony also made it clear that he isn’t trying to pass over a deserving T.J. Grant in the lightweight title picture.
“My doctor’s exact words were, come Aug. 3, you’re going to be sitting at home at 100 percent, and I’m like, ‘damn, I could have made this fight,’ I mean, you know, I’m freaking out, I’m trying to figure out a way to fix this and looking at all possibilities, so you can’t knock me for trying, you know? It’s in my hometown. T.J. Grant earned his shot I’m not going to say I should be fighting and T.J. Grant didn’t earn his shot. T.J. Grant earned his shot and he’s there for a reason, I don’t want the fans to think I’m trying to take his position or anything like that, but at the same time, you can’t knock me for trying. I want a title shot so bad. I was just at home thinking of all the possible situations”
Pettis says that lightweight is his true home and the only fight he wants at featherweight is a championship contest against Aldo because he feels he has what it takes to dethrone the scrappy Brazilian and won’t drop the weight for anyone else. As far as a much-desired 155-pound title fight against “Smooth,” Pettis says Henderson doesn’t seem to interested in facing him again:
“I’m the last guy to beat Ben Henderson, no matter what. My name never gets brought up out of his mouth for some reason. I’m not going to say he’s ducking me or dodging me, but for some reason, when it comes to fighting Pettis, he’s all against it.”
“Showtime” defeated “Smooth” at WEC 53, where he unveiled the “Showtime Kick” to become the promotions final lightweight title holder.