By: Chris Taylor
There is no denying that current UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is one of the sports most exciting and dynamic stars.
Nicknamed “Showtime,” Pettis has displayed remarkable creativity in his striking, using the octagon cage as a springboard on multiple occasions to throw all types of strikes at his opponents.
It’s these unique abilities that have made Anthony Pettis such a popular figure amongst fight fans.
The one problem fight fans do seem to have with “Showtime,” is that we don’t get to see him in action nearly enough, mostly due to injuries.
Pettis’ last octagon appearance came 10 months ago at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, where he submitted Benson Henderson in the first-round with an armbar to become UFC lightweight champion.
Anthony made his UFC debut back in June of 2011, suffering a decision loss to Clay Guida. He has since won his last 4 fights, his most recent being the aforementioned title bout with “Bendo.”
So, in the past 3+ years, Pettis has fought just a total of 5 times.
To make matters worse, the UFC’s lightweight champion is currently serving as a coach on season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” meaning fans won’t see him inside the cage again until this winter.
Anthony’s absence from action has been well documented by other fighters in the division, prompting harsh words from rivals Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson, while Benson Henderson is now claiming to be the divisions “interim champ.”
Pettis recently spoke with MMAFighting.com about both his absence from fighting, as well as his rivals recent claims:
“The division needs to somehow keep themselves relevant. The main guy doing it, Ben Henderson, I beat him twice, so he can talk all he wants. He’s going to have to wait his turn. There’s a couple guys that can talk and I guess they deserve their shot, but at the same time, I was in the same position as them guys. I was talking and I was trying to make my case to get that title shot.”
“I think it’s funny. I beat Ben twice. Like, why is he even saying that? If he wants to consider himself the interim champ, we all know who the real champ is, so he can keep saying that. They’re all pleading their case. They all want a title shot. Honestly, Ben is a great fighter. He’s a great guy. I mean, I like the guy, it’s just, I think I got his number. I beat him twice. So it makes it that much harder to hear him say anything.”
Anthony Pettis will defend his UFC lightweight title against former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez following the conclusion of the “Ultimate Fighter Season 20.” The bout is expected to be a part of either December’s UFC 181 event or January’s UFC 182 event.
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