Anthony Pettis will not wait for title shot to make his UFC debutPosted on January 8, 2011, 11:16 PM by Joey Santosus
WEC stand-out Anthony Pettis watched intently as the UFC 125 main-event unfolded. However, unlike the other 12,000 plus spectators in attendance, the outcome of the Lightweight title clash between Champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard would directly impact the future of his career.
After defeating Ben Henderson at WEC 53 in a bout that was to not only crown the promotion's last standing Lightweight Champion, but to also name the next contender for the UFC's 155lbs. strap, it was just a matter of whom Pettis would be facing in this debut title match. However, after a 25 minute, closely-contested war between Edgar and Maynard, the bout was declared a draw, leaving Pettis with more questions than answers.
While he was initially reassured that things would go ahead as planned, Pettis was later informed that UFC President Dana White had changed his mind and instead felt that Maynard deserved a rematch. With the possibility of being sidelined for up to a year, it was unclear whether the 23 year-old Roufusport product would decide to wait it out, or fight another UFC contender in the meantime. However, Pettis appears to have made a decision on the matter.
Mike Roberts of MMA Inc., Pettis' management company, told MMAWeekly.com on Friday that Pettis would go ahead with his octagon debut instead of waiting for the title shot.
"Anthony was obviously disappointed in not getting the title shot, but he also understands why Dana made that decision," Roberts said. "After consulting with Anthony and Duke Roufus, we collectively decided that it would be in Anthony's best interest to take a fight in the meantime."
"A 10-month or possible year layoff was just too long. We believe with a win against a top lightweight contender Anthony will still get the title shot later in the year."
Although a replacement opponent is yet to be named, speaking to Yahoo! Sports' Dave Meltzer, "Showtime" insisted he is only interested in fighting the division's elite.
"I only want to face guys at the top - George Sotiropoulos, Clay Guida, Jim Miller, [Sean] Sherk, anybody that makes sense," said Pettis. "I don't want to fight someone who isn't high level. If I fight, I think I've earned fighting the best guys."
Source: MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports