UFC lightweight champion Antony Pettis is scheduled to undergo surgery on Dec. 12 to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament. He expects to be out of action for six to eight months.
“The doctor said six to eight months, so I’m hoping six months,” Pettis told UFC Tonight about his expected recovery time. “I want to be back by summertime. Hope to get a July fight.”
The 26-year-old fighter injured his knee in his UFC 164 championship bout with former champion Benson Henderson on Aug. 31.
When he returns to defend his title for the first time, Pettis hopes to face Nate Diaz.
When asked who he hopes is the top contender when he returns, Pettis didn’t hesitate in saying, “Nate Diaz.”
Diaz (17-9) is coming off an impressive first-round finish of Gray Maynard on Nov. 30. He had lost his two previous fights, including being knocked out for the first time in his career by Josh Thomson on April 20.
Following the win, Diaz stated that he and training partner Gilbert Melendez were the two top lightweights in the world, something the champion took offense to.
“Nate Diaz has been talking so much. And his last fight, he actually looked pretty decent, but it’s hard to judge against Gray Maynard. I hope Nate works his way up and we get to fight,” he said.
“Nate’s just been talking for a while. Even after his last fight, saying these are the number one and number two lightweights in the world. I mean, that’s taking a shot directly at me,” said Pettis. “That belt is in my front room. It’s there for a reason.”
Pettis was expected to face T.J. Grant on Dec. 14 on the UFC on Fox 9 fight card, but Grant had not yet been medically cleared for a concussion received in training and was ineligible to compete. Josh Thomson was then slated to fight for the title, but Pettis was forced out of the fight with the knee injury.