by Samantha L. Johnson – MMAWeekly.com

There is speculation that when
Shane Roller faces Anthony Pettis Wednesday evening at WEC 50 it will be to
determine who gets the next title shot.


A title shot is something every
fighter dreams of. It is their opportunity to showcase themselves at the
highest level and, hopefully, become the champion. However, for Roller (8-2), a
title shot against current lightweight champion Benson Henderson would be more
than just a title fight, it would be
an opportunity to avenge his lone loss.


“The best motivation is just
getting that belt,” said Roller. “That’s why I started this sport, I wanted to
show everybody that I could do it. I wanted to be the best, but it would be
sweet if I could get that and fight Henderson at the same time. That’d be a
really nice opportunity for me and I’d love the chance to fight him again, for
the belt.”


As with most fighters, Roller is
not looking past his current opponent, Anthony Pettis (10-1). Five of Pettis’
wins have been via submissions and his main trainer is American Muay Thai
champion, Jeff “Duke” Roufus. Well rounded and dangerous, Roller has prepared
for the best Pettis possible.


“He’s well rounded, he’s got dangerous
kicks, strikes, and also he’s dangerous on the ground,” said Roller. “He’s
finished two of his four WEC fights in a triangle. He’s dangerous and I’ve just
got to be careful. I make one mistake and it could be over for the night. But
everything has got to be precise and go in there and really dominate and take
control of the position.”


Hailing from the famed Oklahoma
State University wrestling squad, Roller is one of the top-level college
wrestlers who have successfully transitioned into MMA. Crediting simply the
style of wrestling he developed since childhood, Roller states that submission
moves like a guillotine are something he has been comfortable with for years.


“I was a more limber kind of wild
wrestler,” he explained. “I took a lot of risk to get a lot of rewards
sometimes. Sometimes I would give up stupid takedowns, but I would then get
people on their back and put them in wild positions. I wrapped the head good in
wrestling and that’s why my guillotine is so good. Because it’s something I’ve been
doing since I was four or five years old.”


While no statement has been made
by the WEC that this fight has title implications, many consider both Pettis
and Roller at the top of the 155-pound division. Roller (5-1 in the WEC) and
Pettis (4-1 in the WEC) each know the only way to ensure their chances of a
title shot is to walk away Wednesday with a “W” and put on a fantastic show.


“There’s no telling what’s in the
plans,” said Roller. “I’ve just got to go out there and perform the best I can and
make sure I get my hand raised and then hopefully the opportunity comes.  I feel like I’ve done enough to have a
title shot. My last two fights there have been some of the same questions; there’s title implications and articles like that coming
out. So if I win now I don’t see how they can’t give me a title shot.”



L. Johnson is a freelance writer originally from Southeast Idaho, currently living
in Las Vegas, NV. Visit her website for
her ramblings of on living in the MMA Mecca.