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Gray Maynard leapfrogs Anthony Pettis for lightweight title-shot

Lending credit to the unpredictable nature of Mixed Martial Arts, a sport where circumstances often change in the blink of an eye, it appears UFC lightweight champ Frank Edgar will yet again defend his belt against an opponent he’s fresh off a fight against rather than the individual he was said to be facing even at an official post-event press conference. While WEC’s 155-pound title-holder, Anthony Pettis, had been slotted to square off against the winner of this past weekend’s headlining bout at UFC 125, in the end Gray Maynard’s first-round beatdown and subsequent showing against Edgar en route to a draw was enough to earn him a rematch with “The Answer” and leave Pettis questioning his future.

News of the change was announced by Dana White hours after the conclusion of UFC 125 in a conversation with MMAFighting where the UFC President explained, “You can’t NOT give Maynard this fight. You’ve gotta give this kid the immediate rematch. You know, I’ve been thinking about it for hours, and I know I told Craig (Borsari) to go to the press conference and say Pettis is gettin’ it – Pettis isn’t getting it. Maynard is getting this rematch.”

The announcement will undoubtedly bring a great deal of relief to Maynard who was visibly emotional when speaking to media at the press conference, especially when then subject Pettis’ title-shot came up rather than a rematch. Like a number of other people watching last Saturday night, “The Bully” was clear in saying he felt he had done enough to win gold after knocking Edgar down a number of times during the fight’s opening round and earning a few more frames thereafter.

The switch should sit fine with Edgar as well, as the 13-1-1 champion spoke of his preference for a final crack at Maynard rather than a scrap with Pettis in hopes of receiving some closure from their New Year’s Day encounter (not to mention his previous loss to the XTreme Couture original).

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

13 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    I don’t agree… Showtime earned his spot.

    I wish Pettis was in the title match BUT it would be pretty cool to see him and Guida match up?!?

  • Madmax says:

    I think GUIDA should get a shot, before Pettis. Guy does one cool move and now he’s GOD. I call BS. Agreed that Maynard gets his rematch forthwith, he earned it, but the next title fight should be GUIDA, not Pettis.

  • king mah mah says:

    To me you just can’t leave a title match a draw. A rematch makes all the sense in the world.

  • Angry Mike says:

    I agree that there has to be a rematch. As far as Pettis is concerned, he should be patient. If he went straight to a fight with Edgar, a win would leave open the question of whether he or Maynard is legit belt holder. He’ll get his shot, and probably this year.

  • MCM says:

    I say Guida/Pettis for #1 contender, but Gray and Edgar need to finish this. Gray Maynard is still undefeated, how can he not fight for the title when he wasn’t beaten by the champ. It sucks for Edgar that all his title fights need rematches, but you can’t have a title fight end in a draw IMO.

  • JOEgun says:

    the immediate rematch is completely fair and makes sense. Pettis can wait for his turn, its not that big a deal, he’s got next shot no matter what.

    And Guida is NOT quite ready for a title shot or a #1 contenders match. Thats my opinion

  • Jak says:

    The reason most people who are agains the rematch is because after Edgar beat Penn, Dana White basically didn’t believe that happened and forced us to watch an automatic rematch.

    When Chael Sonnen lost to Anderson Silva… yup Dana White didn’t believe the outcome and only a failed drug test stopped another automatic rematch.

    Frank Mir vs. Lesnar 3 is being pawned on us.

    This time is a time that a rematch can be warranted, but the automatic rematch decisions of the last year or so are what have soured lot’s of people.

    As a WEC fan, i watched the last event in excitment because Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis were in line of a unified title fight. Instead of riding out a decision and hoping the judges scored it in their favour, Pettis went out and did something about it.

    The kick didn’t get him the title shot, he had been putting on great performances up until then, it just highlighted that he knew it was do or die and that a UFC title shot was on the line. He manned up, ran the wall and earned a place in highlight history.

  • Rich S. says:

    I hate these instant rematches. They really screw things up, especially now that there are quite a few contenders creeping toward a title shot in this division, including Guida and the already-deserving Pettis.

    But, for the first time in a long time, it is absolutely necessary.

  • Jak says:

    +1 to Rich.

    Everybody keeps talking about it needs to be resolved, but all the fighters like Miller, Sotiropolous, Guida, Pettis, Dunham(if he wins), etc can’t get their potential title shots until possibly 2012.

    There is so much money that is up for grabs for a title match up, the signing bonuses, the huge sponsorship money from being a main event ppv fighter, etc.

    Sure all those other guys will get other fights, but even with their win bonuses it still pales in comparison to what they would get for a title shot.

  • Dufresne says:

    I too usually hate immediate rematches. I was okay for Edgar/Penn II only because at the time there was really no one except Maynard that had earned a shot yet. But now the LW division is absolutely stacked and has a named #1 contender in Pettis.

    The problem now is that there really is no defined champ for the #1 contender to fight. I know Edgar still has the belt, but a draw is a draw is a draw. According to those three judges, neither one won the fight, but neither lost either. In my eyes that makes both guys the champ and just like when there’s an interim champ, we need a title unification bout.

  • elkymbo says:

    Yes the rematch should happen but what does that mean for Pettis? Does he sit and wait until this is resolved or does he potentially get thrown in with someone else ie Guida and maybe lose. Where does that leave him then? I know it’s probably going to be a long wait but I believe he should wait until this is resolved and stay the number one contender. Don’t think it will happen though.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    way i see it is gray had his chance and didnt win, pettis up next, gray can fight george or miller for the next title shot.
    why is guida being considered?

  • Dufresne says:

    Yes the rematch should happen but what does that mean for Pettis?
    Personally I think he should do like Rashad has (God I hope I never have to say that sentence again) and wait for his promised title shot. It may seem like the easy way out but like you said, what happens if he takes another fight and loses? With the LW division stacked like it is now, he may never get another title shot.

    why is guida being considered?
    I’m a fan of Guida, but I’m kinda wondering the same thing…

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