Anthony Pettis Earns Lightweight Title Shot, Will Wait for Benson Henderson or Gilbert Melendez

January 27, 2013
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Anthony Pettis vs Donald CerroneIt’s been 773 days since Anthony Pettis defeated Benson Henderson to close the book on the WEC, and earn a title shot in his debut fight for the UFC.

What no one could have predicted however was that the champion at the time Frankie Edgar would end up fighting Gray Maynard to a draw just a couple of weeks later, forcing a rematch, and pushing Pettis back in line. Eventually, Pettis ended up losing a close decision to Clay Guida, and then had to work his way back to the top of the division.

On Saturday night, Pettis not only cleared the way for another path to the title, but got UFC President Dana White on board to assure him the next crack at the belt is his and he will get the winner of Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez, which happens in April.

White reiterated that Pettis’ knockout win over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was ultra impressive, but he won’t mess with the current UFC on Fox 7 main event and make any changes. Pettis is next in line though and will face the winner.

“I think the (Gilbert) Melendez fight is pretty set, but he’s next,” White said about Pettis at the UFC on Fox 6 post fight press conference. “I can’t say enough good things about the kid, that was incredible tonight. Obviously, his big all time highlight will be the kick off the fence, but tonight was unbelievable, the knee off the fence, it was phenomenal.”

The last time Pettis was given a choice to wait for a title shot or go ahead and fight, he opted to take a risky bout against Clay Guida, and ended up losing a decision. This go round if the title shot is locked in, Pettis will happily sit out for a few months and wait for Henderson or Melendez.

“I mean if it’s a guaranteed title shot, I’m waiting,” Pettis stated. “That’s what my goals are, that was my goal this year, if it’s next I’m definitely going to wait. (I’ll) get better, and get what’s mine.”

The waiting game is always a risky one when it comes to UFC title shots. Some fighters have waited and never ended up getting a shot due to injuries and just the way things played out, while some have waited and it paid off with a championship win. UFC President Dana White has seen it go both ways, so he can’t offer any advice to Pettis on his decision.

“I’ve seen both go the wrong way, so who knows,” White said about waiting.

It’s likely at this point because Pettis has seen the wrong side of not waiting the last time he had a title shot looming overhead, that he’ll gladly sit out for a few months and take his chances at facing Benson Henderson or Gilbert Melendez later this year.

  • Jason Decipher

    I’m glad Pettis proved the doubters wrong. Obviously he can strike with the best of them he just needs to work on his ground. Ultra impressive is the right term Cerrone had NEVER been finished, Lauzon had never been KO’d like that, Benson has never lost like he did to Pettis, that kick off the fence was not a one time thing. Sure Benson has improved as has Pettis.

    • Kenny Powers

      Yup, this is the uncrowned champ right here. I like Bendo too tho, they’re both just great fighters. Bendo vs Gil is going to be an awesome fight, then Pettis vs Ben or Gil is gonna be great too. I don’t think its his ground game that needs the work, hes proven to be good off his back, he just needs to work his wrestling, which i think he has. He’s got anybody’s number in the stand up.

  • datdudechris…ONCEAGAIN

    for all the people who said pettis dosent deserve a titles shot he definitely made a statement so big nuts in their mouths

  • shakejunt

    pettis needs to stay ready to fill in should gil get hurt again. watch eddie’s case ends and he leapfrogs pettis?

  • aries

    He didn’t before but now he does , 1 fight can change perspectives

    • RonnieV


  • Adam Bruss

    Getting grapplefucked by Guida seems to have lit a fire under Pettis. Blessing in disguise? I say don’t wait. Take fights. If you lose then you improve and come back stronger. In this case he can rest if the shot is guaranteed and Melendez vs Bendo is already set.

  • $9244763

    Its ok with Dana if Pettis waits after his first top 10 win but its not ok for Hendricks to wait after his 3rd top 10 win in 12 months, TOTAL FU’cing BULLSH’t, Dana s’ucks

    • John

      Different weight class, different competition, different situation! You’re dumb for comparing the two.

      • $9244763

        Who cares if its a different weight class same friggen scenario. hendricks is far more deserving than pettis who just lost to Guida 2 fights ago and almost lost to unranked Jeremy stephens. GSP pulled strings because he wanted and easier fight with Diaz and now we get to see GSP’s best impression of “fitching” can’t wait to see Pettis get put on his back and look like a turtle for 25 minutes like hedid in Guida fight

    • RonnieV

      Hey Doug Berry, start your own mma promotion then. Quit bitching about the matchmaking, the UFC is successful for a reason.

      • aries

        Agreed not all is far in love and war , This is a bussiness and people wanna see gsp vs diaz and Bendo vs Pettis just the way things are , I personally think diaz beat condit 3 rounds to 2 , but its w.e that’s the past , hendricks just needs to be as patient as Pettis he’ll get what’s coming to him

  • $9244763

    Its ok with Dana if Pettis waits after his first top 10 win but its not ok for Hendricks to wait after his 3rd top 10 win in 12 months, TOTAL FU’cing BULLSH’t, Dana s’ucks

    • El Gvapo

      So you have multiple logins to agree with yourself to make your point more valid? That’s a sad, sad existence my friend. You should get out more, find a hobby…

      • $9244763

        I haven’t been on this site forever and only found it through brousing and it posted twice on its own regardless Pettis lost to Guida (who sucks) and Pettis is going to lose to bendo. Maynard would wipe the floor with Pettis as would any other wrestler

  • I love Cowboy but I’m so glad Pettis won and kept his name in the mix. No offense to Cowboy but he had two fights with Benson already and lost to Nate Diaz. That division is to deep and a loss can be a real set back. It set back Pettis long enough when lost to Guida. This rematch has all the hype it needs to promote a great fight for the fans and for the division.

    • John Bunch

      I agree. It’s hard not to like Cerrone, but Pettis has done everything right during this waiting process of getting his title shot. I’m stoked about seeing Benson/Gil, and now Pettis has erased any doubt (there never was any imo) that he is next. I know Pettis has to wait 3 months to see who he’s going to face, but he’s assured his shot, and it’s just short enough of a time he can sit back and heal and train without feeling obligated to take another fight. I know some Pettis fans have been screaming bloody murder…but it seems like late this summer Pettis gets his shot.

      • Although he did have to wait it’s nice to know he kept on winning and beating some tough guys to really shut any doubters up. A very nice win for him especially in that fashion against Cerrone. Who do you have for Benson/Gil ?

  • BarrysHypocrisy

    Pettis dominated that fight and looked great, but him trying to kick off the cage again just made him look stupid. He’s bought right into the hype about that last kick.

  • bmc92

    one of the most exciting fighter in the ufc at the moment so glad hes getting a shot think he can beat anyone in the ufc

  • Very dynamic win for Pettis, i felt sorry for Cerrone, but it was a good bout.