Anthony “Showtime” Pettis entered the UFC with the world at his feet – The 23-year-old had just captured the WEC lightweight title from Ben Henderson and was poised to face the winner of the second meeting between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard to unify the belts.
But when UFC 125 came to a close, the UFC lightweight title was up in the air with the title-fight being declared a draw, Pettis was given the choice to wait for the winner or to take another fight. He rushed into another fight and paid the price for it.
The Duke Roufus product took on fan-favorite and rising star Clay Guida in his first octagon appearance. Most considered this match up to be a tune-up fight for Pettis but Guida had something to say about that, showing off his exceptional wrestling ability to collect the victory on points.
It was back to the drawing board from there for this highly-touted prospect who returned last October defeating Jeremy Stephens and showing his wrestling ability isn’t anything to look past either.
Next weekend he gets the opportunity to face The Ultimate Fighter veteran Joe Lauzon who just put the former consensus number-one contender Melvin Guillard to sleep in under a minute.
“He’s hungry for a finish – Every first round he has he’s looking for a submission or knockout, he’s not one of those guys who comes out to game plan he jumps into the deep water right away”
Lauzon has stated in several interviews that he believes that this fight is to determine who will be next in line to fight for all the marbles at 155-pounds but Pettis isn’t so sure about that:
“After what happened to me in the UFC nothings for sure, anything can happen and you don’t know what the outcome is but I think we’re definitely up there – He’s coming off a win over Guillard, I only lost to Guida so it’s going to be close to number-one contender fight.”
As a long-time fan of Pride Fighting Championships it’s going to be a treat for the Arizona native to fight in front of a Japanese audience:
“It’s going to be crazy, I know the Japanese fans are going to be way different than the American fans so I think it’s going to be a different look – I grew up watching PRIDE now I’m fighting on the same card as “Rampage” [Jackson] it’s gonna be great.”
Of course the fight with top billing for the UFC’s return to the land of the rising sun, is the lightweight title fight between Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson and Pettis believes his former WEC cast-member is going to get his hand raised:
“I think Henderson comes away with that belt, he’s looking unstoppable right now – His submission defense is good, his striking is getting better and his wrestling matches up with Edgar really well so I think Bens gonna take that belt home from Japan.”
If Pettis is correct and he is also able to get past the tough threat in submission stylist Joe Lauzon the narrative for a rematch between Pettis and Henderson writes itself.