photo courtsey of Aldo's twitter @josealdojunior
On Saturday night Anthony Pettis stole a page from Chael Sonnen and injected himself into the title picture at 145lbs after Edgar lost to Jose Aldo. As announced last night he will get his shot on August 3rd which begs the question does he deserve it? Pettis was the final lightweight champ in the now defunct WEC and was welcomed into the UFC with a loss to Clay Guida because the stars didn’t align and the champ, Frankie Edgar was locked in to a trilogy with Gray Maynard.
So, instead of doing nothing Pettis did what champs do, he took a fight and the decision didn’t go his way. That said at UFC on FOX two weeks ago he looked incredible taking advantage of the positive and negative space in the ring to nearly land a cartwheel kick in the opening salvo and later land an off the cage knee to Cerrone’s head and finishing the fight with a series of brutal liver kicks.
Now he is next for Aldo but Ricardo Lamas (ranked #2) has been vocal that he should be next in line. Lamas is undefeated since moving to the UFC and like Pettis has only two loses on his record but is that enough? Chad Mendes who lost to Aldo has essentially had to “get back in line” as Dana White says and isn’t even in the conversation right now for a rematch with Aldo. Which is what Aldo is great at, making fighters look bad. I talked yesterday about Edgar (ranked #4) who also has to get in line and work back up and how Dana said he would like him to drop to Bantamweight and had a couple people take exception to this but a loss to Aldo does that to you – makes you look bad even when you might have won. Lamas had a great outing in Chicago besting Erik Koch (ranked #9) who was also in line for Aldo and a series of injuries derailed that and led to the superfight between Edgar and Aldo. Erik Koch also not in the conversation after his loss to Lamas and while Ricardo is a fun fight for Aldo, the money is with Pettis.
But what about the Korean Zombie (ranked # 3) as a contender? Jung Chan Sung is also undefeated in the UFC with a 7 second knockout of the guy who took Aldo the distance in Mark Hominick. But even the fan favorite who brings an exciting fight EVERY time he is in the octagon isn’t up next for Aldo. Why? Because the money is with Pettis and that is where it gets interesting.
Duke Rufus said that Pettis wants to be considered among one of the greats like Anderson Silva and that Pettis I watched in Chicago certainly has a chance to do that. But Aldo’s history of making guys look bad is something that Pettis should consider and most certainly has. What I love about Pettis is that he is one of those guys who always takes fights and if you are an MMA fan these are the guys you want to root for. Chael Sonnen, Josh Koscheck, Edgar, Leben, and certainly Pettis are those guys who stand up and say “pick me” instead of waiting for Joe Silva to do the picking for them.
If Ricardo Lamas is mad he isn’t getting the shot there is a lesson here for him and for the Korean Zombie – it is not the big that eats the small, it is the fast that eats the slow. You want the title shot, ask for it. Gone are the days where the UFC is taking their time and planning out who will be next, considering all the options, and then choosing the best record. The world moves too fast for that.
The UFC is looking for the guys who will bring the most eyeballs, are the most exciting, and most importantly ask for the opportunity.