Visions of a Champion: Does the Winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone Deserve a Shot?

January 24, 2013
39 Comments

Anthony Pettis vs Donald CerroneIs the winner of Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 6 lightweight battle between top contenders Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone heading for a title shot next?

That’s a good question, and one that has been asked often in the lead-up to the fight.

Pettis was the final WEC lightweight champion when the UFC absorbed the promotion. His hit list includes Joe Lauzon, Jeremy Stephens, Shane Roller, Alex Karalexis, and perhaps most importantly, current UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson.

Cerrone is also a former WEC product. He challenged for the lightweight strap three times, one of those being for the interim belt, but was never able to walk out of the cage with it around his waist.

His win list is just as impressive as Pettis’ though. Cerrone has defeated the likes of Melvin Guillard, Dennis Siver, Paul Kelly, Jamie Varner, and like Pettis, Stephens.

Pettis currently has a 15-2 overall record; Cerrone’s sits at 19-4.

Pettis was already promised a title shot once. Making his way to the Octagon as the final WEC champion, a fight against the winner of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard was on tap… until those two fought to an unlikely draw and rematch was granted.

While Edgar and Maynard finished up their trilogy of fights, Pettis started his UFC tenure on a sour note with a decision loss to Clay Guida. That derailed any immediate hopes he had of challenging for the belt.

He regained momentum with wins over Stephens and Lauzon, but Pettis spent the rest of 2012 on the sidelines nursing injuries.

Cerrone, on the other hand, was plugging away.

He reeled off four consecutive victories to start his UFC career, but just as he moved into position to earn a title shot, a certain Nate Diaz put up a roadblock, dominating Cerrone en route to a unanimous decision.

Cowboy also returned strong, winning back-to-back bouts over Stephens and Guillard.

Leading us to where we are now, with Pettis and Cerrone chomping at the bit to enter the Octagon and prove to the world that one of them should be stepping in with Henderson next, not Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez.

That won’t happen, however, as Henderson and Melendez are slated to headline UFC on Fox 7 on April 20. The best that Pettis or Cerrone can hope for is an impressive victory to lay claim to a shot at the winner.

That claim is a little easier for Pettis to make should he come out on top, particularly if Henderson defeats Melendez in San Jose, Calif. It was Henderson that Pettis took the WEC belt from. If Pettis beats Cerrone and Henderson still holds the belt this spring, a rematch for the UFC strap would make for excellent backstory.

Cerrone may want to root for Melendez, however. If Henderson wins, even an impressive victory over Pettis may make for an uphill climb to a title shot.

Cerrone is 6-1 in the Octagon, but two of his three losses in the WEC were to one Benson Henderson, the second of which was by way of submission. Making his case for a rematch is a much tougher sell than it is for Pettis, but it’s still not out of the realm of possibility. It has been nearly three years since Cerrone and Henderson last fought.

Right now, however, neither fighter is wasting much energy stressing about a title shot dancing around out in the ether.

“I’m not worried about the title shots right now,” said Pettis recently. “It’s a year off for me. I’m just worried about getting Ws on my belt.

“So that kind of shot is going to come when it’s supposed to. I got a tough dangerous opponent in front of me and I’m concentrating on that.”

Cerrone is of a similar mind.

“We can go up there and put on one hell of a fight and give everyone what they want to see,” Cowboy commented. “And if they give it to the winner, that’s what’s up, I guess. But if not, we just wait and do what they tell us to do.

“I think both of us have worked hard and we deserve it.”

Possible title shots are always a great motivator heading into a fight, but neither Pettis nor Cerrone is a fighter that needs a lot of motivating in the first place. They both love to fight, and they both love to finish fights.

Regardless of whether or not the winner gets a title shot when all is said and done, we as fans are going to be the winners when these two step in the Octagon on Saturday night.

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  • Oswald Cobblepott

    These guy are great fighters and always put on a heck of a show for that they should always be in contention…as long as they keep winning. Sometimes deserving a title shot is far less important than putting on a big time bout and these two always do, for that they shoul get a crack at the belt

  • sasori

    “That claim is a little easier for Pettis to make should he come out on top, particularly if Henderson defeats Melendez in Anaheim, Calif.”

    I thought Gil and Ben were fighting in San Jose?

    • http://www.MMAWeekly.com/ Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly

      You are correct. That was an error on my part.

  • Bendo’s Abs

    They haven’t beat enough top 10 fighters, so no neither one deserves a title shot. That just puts the winner in the right direction.

    • Joey

      I am honestly just curious, to all the people that don’t think either of these guys would deserve a shot with a win, who would you than say does deserve the next shot after Melendez?

  • Madmmax

    I like Cerrone, but he already lost to Hendo twice. I don’t feel Petit has has done enough for a tittle shot yet, but he was the last person to beat Ben in an instant classic, and the rematch would be compelling

  • Timothy Malone

    It sucks for Cerrone but he already had two title fights against Benson Henderson and lost them both. Is doing best of five really necessary?

    • Adam1848

      Cerrone was schooling Bendo the last two rounds of their first fight and got caught and choked out early in their second…so although I might agree with you in principle, in this case, yes…I think a third fight is necessary if Cowboy has a dominant win over Pettis. Problem is, if he loses a third time, he’s screwed, even if its a close decision like their first fight.

  • rome

    reality is probly neither will get a shot…. Gilbert vs Ben first…not to mention if Eddie Alvarez gets into UFC on time is “promised” a title fight according to reports of contract..so idk… what a mission for guys to get a title shot now..Go Cerrone

  • trupert

    First off, Pettis/Cerrone fight in Jan and Bendo/Gilbert fight 3 months later so Pettis/Cerrone winner could fight another fight (especially for for Pettis who might want to stay active after the long lay-off) With that said, I’d say Pettis deserves it before Cerrone. I’d say they both deserve it before the TJGrant/Wiman winner, the DosAnjos/JimMiller winner or any match involving non-Melendez Strikeforce fighters (Healy, Thomson etc)

    The only match that could jump ahead of the winner here would be the Gray Maynard/Eddie Alvarez winner. (Obviously some of these matchups have not and may not be made)

    My ‘fight schedule’ though I’m no Joe SIlva or Sean Selby to line up the next set of contenders, but I tried to take in account when each fighter fought last or will fight to match up timing etc:

    In April, Gray Maynard vs Eddie Alvarez (#1 Contender)

    Since these are the only match-ups set for Jan, you almost have to do:
    Pettis vs Cerrone winner fights
    TJ Grant vs Matt Wiman winner (#2 contender)

    Then I’d do these winner vs winner. Not set who fights who until we figure out who wins first:
    Healy vs Nurmagomedov
    Jim Miller vs Dos Anjos
    Thomson vs Nate Diaz (easily marketable with the Thomson/Gilbert history)
    Masvidal vs Lauzon (and after this ‘mock’-tourney, you’ll get the #3 contender) ….obviously you can’t plan this far ahead but it kinda works

    (yeah, there are a lot more prospects ready to come up as well, like Jury and Barboza etc, but let’s deal with these first)

  • Mark McDowall

    Pettis yes. Cerrone if he wins decisively yes, if not he fight’s Maynard for #1 spot.

  • Brock

    Neither do last Time I checked Pettis maybe deserved one when he came over but lost to Guida and split decisioned Jeremy Stevens and then Louzon… Nope

    • RonnieV

      I agree!

    • Joey

      If neither of these two guys deserves the next shot, then who does? Can’t Say Alvarez since he isnt technically in the UFC yet and who knows when he will be.

      Not mention Pettis didnt just beat Lauzon, he knocked him out in impressive fashion and if he were to win against Cerrone I would say he would be the most deserving out of any other 155’er.

      Plus he would be a very marketable contender with having the last win over Henderson and they could replay the “Showtime Kick’ over and over.

      • kbroesq

        Yeah, I agree, I’m totally not getting the people who think neither deserve a shot if they win, and I’m especially not getting the people who think Pettis, yes; Cerrone, no. It makes no sense! I personally would like to see Pettis get it against Bendo (no way Gil beats Henderson) because of the history, but is that why people are singling Cerrone out? If Cerrone beats Pettis, that would make him 7-1 in the UFC in 2 years. He beat Rocha, Kelly, Oliveira, Guillard, Stephens and Siver. That’s a pretty impressive list! Not one of those guys is a push over. People want to hold him back because he lost to Diaz?

        Cerrone fought a very unintelligent fight against Diaz if you ask me. He was getting beat on the feat, and fighting Diaz the exact way he shouldn’t have. He kicked Diaz to the ground like 10 times, and didn’t go chasing him once. Yes, I know Diaz has good BJJ, but he’s probably not going to sub Cerrone, and Cerrone has good GP. Jackson said it himself; it probably wasn’t a good idea to even take that fight. I think people here are arguing based upon what they view as being the most compelling match-up as opposed to who actually deserves it.

        • RonnieV

          It’s a good debate, but I disagree. First off, all those fighters you listed are middle & lower tier UFC lightweights. OlivieraGuillard is lucky he still has a contract. Cerrone looked terrible against the only ranked fighter he has faced. If he beats Pettis, let him beat one more ranked guy. Pettis previous win over Bendo is the only reason he deserves a shot, because he also hasn’t been very impressive in the UFC. I would take a Maynard/Alvarez winner over these two. But who knows, I may be wrong, as you pointed out Cerrone was a bad matchup for Diaz, Diaz was a bad matchup for Bendo, maybe Pettis/Cerrone are good matchups for Bendo.

  • RonnieV

    Pettis , absolutely Yes, he would deserve the next shot if he wins! Cerrone, would still need one more quality win. He got his ass handed to him by Nate Diaz, but two quality wins over Top 10 opponents should get him in the title fight.

    • Barry

      Exactly what I came here to say. Pettis would be facing somebody like Maynard or Alvares if they were available, as both of those opponents are up there in terms of title contention.This is a fight where Pettis will either advance to face the winner of Melendez vs Benderson, or be held back. Cerrone needs to string together another win against a top 5 opponent to be even in the conversation, as I don’t see him beating Pettis in dramatic fashion.

    • kbroesq

      I don’t understand this logic. I don’t even see how it’s even a question whether the winner of this fight deserves a title shot. Before this story, the debate was: do either of them deserve a title shot RIGHT NOW. Obviously, the winner of this fight deserves a title shot…period.

      Now for your comment. I obviously agree with the Pettis part, but how can you say Cerrone, a guy who has fought 6 times in the UFC in only a little over a year, with a 5-1 record, shouldn’t get a title shot if he wins!? If he beats Pettis, that’s three quality wins in a row. The LWD isn’t the same as it was a year ago; there’s still a huge amount of talent, but unlike a year ago, there isn’t a seemingly endless list of guys with win streaks. Whoever wins this fight absolutely, unequivocally deserves a title shot.

      • RonnieV

        Cerrone, hasn’t beaten anybody, Denis Siver is his only impressive victory in the UFC. Pettis has been less than impressive in the UFC, but he does have that WEC vctory over Bendo.

        • kbroesq

          Cerrone hasn’t beaten anybody…I’m literally speechless.

          • RonnieV

            Enlighten me on a quality win (besides Siver) that Cerrone has in the UFC?

  • Dude1

    Pettis didn’t fight Varner

    • Joey

      Your right, he didnt but thats know what the writer of the article wrote…..

      The writer wrote: “His win list is just as impressive as Pettis’ though. Cerrone has
      defeated the likes of Melvin Guillard, Dennis Siver, Paul Kelly, Jamie
      Varner, and like Pettis, Stephens.”

      • iglooiguana

        Pettis can’t beat Varner . . . that is the point!!

      • Dude1

        They changed it now he had Varner listed as a pettis victory

  • iglooiguana

    Pettis didn’t fight Varner . . . and if he did, it would be a big KO loss. Varner is about the best you can get in the UFC 155 class

    • RonnieV

      You are joking right?

    • kbroesq

      I don’t think that’s a stupid comment. Varner is as talented a fight as anyone at 155, and personally, I think his style gives Henderson more problems than either Pettis or Cerrone. Think about it; Varner is a big question mark.

      The problem with Varner is he can’t seem to put it all together, and he unfortunately doesn’t deserve a shot right now. I hope he can put it all together in the future.

  • adam1848

    I think several guys are one impressive win away from a shot…but it needs to be impressive. Anybody coming off of a lackluster decision should take a seat. In a stacked division a title shot should be a reward for going to war or decisively finishing a top 10 opponent, not just getting a W, in my opinion.

  • $16561994

    Neither guys deserves it right now. Neither has recently beaten a top ten fighter.

    The winner should fight Alvarez for the shot, that is if they can get him.

  • Maddawgmar

    The winner should not get a shot, but because there is no other clear contender one will. 2-1 with no top five wins, is not title worthy, unless your Brock Lesnar. Cerrone is much more impressive, but the fact that he has lost to Henderson twice doesn’t make the fight very interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/julianmoranart julian moran

    Pettis is 15-2, with his losses coming by decision. He was the last person to beat Benson Henderson, gaining the WEC title. He also just beat a top contender in Joe Lauzon.

    That Pettis deserves a title shot, is not a question. Especially if he beats other top contended Donald Cerrone.

    If Cerrone beats title contender Pettis, it would give him the same right to the title shot.

    This is another one of these useless articles. Asking obvious questions just to have something to say.

    • kbroesq

      I would have thought the same thing, but obviously we’re in the minority, considering most people commenting here disagree with us.

      • RonnieV

        I disagree only because you have a round robin of lightweights who have all beaten each other. Pettis & Cerrone do not have a quality win in the UFC. If you look at Bendo, Edgar, Maynard, and Diaz they all have something in common. They worked their way into the title fight, by stringing together two top 10 wins before they got their title fight. Pettis, I agree deserves the fight only because of his WEC victory over Bendo. If Cerrone wins, let him face one of the guys I listed above or a Jim Miller/Eddie Alvarez/Clay Guida type. Guillard/Siver/Pettis shouldn’t get you a title fight. Not when you have guys like Gray Maynard, who have beaten five Top 10 opponents, and has only one UFC loss.

        • kbroesq

          You disagree with me arguing that most people commenting here disagree with me? =)

  • Fan

    First off jim miller should get winner he deserves it more!! Second maynard should not even be in consideration! Third it doesnt matter if cerrone has lost to ben 10 times before he is not the same fighter as he was n WEC!! Hes gotten alot better. And lastly pettis doesnt deserve a shot even if he could beat cerrone, he doesnt have enough wins or fights in UFC yet!!!!

  • Mike Little

    Pettis, yes, Cerrone, needs this win and a win like Maynard or Guida if GUida wins. The reason Cerrone doesn’t deserve one is that he was smashed by Nate Diaz who was smashed by Henderson. And Cerrone has already lost to Henderson not once, but twice. Third time is not a charm..Simple logic.

  • Drewdown

    Pettis all the way,Aldo it’s on and know that this will be another fight of the night,because their both Champions in my book.