Former WEC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is now one step away from his long-awaited shot at the title, fresh off a convincing performance against Donald Cerrone LIVE on FOX. Pettis is currently 16-2 in his MMA career, losing only to Clay Guida and Bart Palaszewski, both via decision. Pettis holds victories over Benson Henderson, Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon, Donald Cerrone and Danny Castillo, which makes him one of the Top 5 155'ers on the planet.
Despite Pettis' success in the UFC, he will have to wait for his chance to dethrone Benderson, since the champ is already scheduled to face Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7 in April. However, with zero UFC fights under his belt, I would suggest Anthony Pettis as a legitimate number one contender, just like Gilbert Melendez. Both are coming from a devoured promotion, and both have to unify their titles. Pettis has a long history of not using his title shots. Below are five reasons why now is the time:
#1 - Victory over Donald Cerrone
There's no doubt about Cowboy Cerrone being one of the toughest fighters in the UFC Lightweight division. Moreover, Cerrone not once proved himself against top-tier competition, and was en route to become the next #1 contender. Anthony Pettis proved a point against Cerrone, in what was a bold title shot statement.
#2 - Promises should be kept
To tell you the truth, I'm a bit confused about Anthony Pettis' situation. He was supposed to fight for the title after his victory over Ben Henderson in WEC, the he lost a decision to Clay Guida, then he won against Stephens and Lauzon, but got injured and got Cowboy Cerrone instead. One way or another, Pettis is still the last reigning WEC Lightweight champion, and he simply has to fight for UFC Lightweight title. Until then, this absurd situation makes him the linear UFC Lightweight champion.
#3 - Three in a row
Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon, and Donald Cerrone. Those three high profile victories are more than enough to earn a title shot. In fact, Gilbert Melendez's resume is not as impressive, and he still gets the nod in this so-called title shot rat race.
#4 - Benson Henderson
Unfinished business. Plain and simple. Ben Henderson knows he has something to prove against Anthony Pettis after "Showtime" dominated him back in 2010. Henderson is now the UFC Lightweight champ, and without a doubt one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but he still has to avenge that loss. More than anything, fighting Pettis would earn Henderson that 'undisputed' status.
#5 - Showtime
Anthony Pettis is bar none the most exciting fighter at 155. Showtime kick, cartwheel kick, knee off the fence... and the list goes on. I'm not saying Gilbert Melendez is not an exciting fighter, it's just that Pettis is so unpredictable and so unorthodox, it would be simply thrilling to see him on the highest stage of them all.