After losing the lightweight title in March, and being sidelined with an elbow injury, Anthony Pettis is outlining a timetable for his next fight.
Pettis had his five fight winning streak and reign as lightweight champ ended in March, when he was decisioned by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185. The dynamic fighter was booked to fight Myles Jury at UFC on FOX 16 in July, but an elbow injured pulled him from the bout.
“I’m pushing for this year. I’m pushing for a December return,” Pettis said. “‘Cowboy’ and dos Anjos are on a card, and if one of them gets injured I’d be ready to step in.”
Pettis is referring to UFC on FOX 17 on December 19th, which will mark the first time dos Anjos has fought since he won the lightweight crown. Cerrone–who Pettis stopped back in 2013–has locked up a title shot thanks to an awe inspiring 8 fight winning streak.
Would the UFC consider going with Pettis if RDA withdrew? It’s quite possible. If Cerrone had to pull out, however, one would think they’d go with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Speaking of the latter, Pettis mentioned the vaunted grappler when asked about who he’d like to fight next.
“My ideal opponent would be Rafael dos Anjos – somebody who did that to me, that’s something I want back,” Pettis said. “Ideally, that’s the fight I want. Who makes sense to get me there? You’ve got Khabib out there with an injury, and I think he’s coming back soon. Nate Diaz and me never had a good exchange of words, so Diaz is out there. Anybody who’s going to get me my shot back at dos Anjos.”
It will be interesting to see what direction the UFC goes in. Based on the rankings, clearly a Pettis-Nurmagomedov bout makes a lot of sense. Pettis is the #1 contender and “The Eagle” is ranked #3. In addition, Nurmagomedov has a victory over dos Anjos, and if not for the knee injury he incurred last year, he likely would have been tapped for a title fight already.