Before making the decision to change weight classes for a shot at Aldo, Pettis was in line to fight for the UFC lightweight title in a rematch with titleholder Benson Henderson. Pettis defeated Henderson by unanimous decision in December 2010 in the WEC prior to the organization being folded over into the UFC.
Henderson is scheduled to face TJ Grant on Aug. 31 at UFC 164 in Milwaukee.
Pettis, a Milwaukee native, now believes that he can be ready to fight by Aug. 31 and wants to replace Grant against Henderson to fight for the title in his hometown.
The 26-year-old released a statement to Fuel TV’s UFC Post-Fight Show.
“I can be 100-percent ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee. With all due respect to TJ Grant, Milwaukee is my town and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years,” read the statement. “If it works out, great; if not, I will get my shot very soon. But I think we all know which fight the fans want to see and the entire city of Milwaukee!”
UFC president Dana White doesn’t think Pettis can be ready to fight by then.
“He’s wrong. He will not be ready by that date,” said the UFC president during the event’s post-show on Fuel TV. “The doctor, whom I respect and listen to, says that he won’t be. The therapist that he talked to in Milwaukee says he will. I’m going with the doctor not the therapist.”
White wants a second opinion on Pettis’ knee rehabilitation progress, and doesn’t want the fighter to rush back into competition before he’s ready.
“I’m going to fly him into Vegas this week and have him looked at again for a second opinion. I want a second opinion on it,” said White. “I don’t want this kid to rush it. There’s no rush for him to fight. We’ll get something. I want him to heal and get his knee fixed properly.”