Photo of Anthony Pettis by Eshter Lin via MMAFighting.com.
Just days after his manager was telling reporters he was considering a drop down to 145-pounds to fight UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis has made his immediate plans clear.
"I'm not dropping to 145-pounds to fight Aldo," he tweeted. "155-pounds is my home and I'll get that belt soon."
Lofty aspirations, no doubt, but his optimism isn't exactly misplaced. The man currently holding the lightweight championship, Ben Henderson, is the very same man "Showtime" posterized with his "off-the-wall" kick at WEC 53 back in Dec. 2010.
Pettis took "Bendo's" lightweight title then; why couldn't he do so now?
Well, for starters, a pesky scrapper from New Jersey is getting in the way of Pettis realizing his dream. And it isn't the first time Frankie Edgar has muddied up the 155-pound waters.
When Pettis defeated Henderson at the previously mentioned WEC 53, he earned a title shot against the winner of the Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard title fight set for UFC 125 the very next month as a nice, simple way to unify the titles after the two brands merged.
Alas it was not to be, as Edgar and Maynard fought to an unsatisfying draw in one of the best fights of the year. Naturally, that meant an immediate rematch, which left Pettis with a tough decision -- risk his status as number one contender to stay active or wait for his guaranteed shot.
He chose the former ... and it cost him.
The Duke Roufus product dropped a unanimous decision to Clay Guida and fell back down the ladder. All the while Henderson was steady climbing his way up it. "Smooth" eventually earned a title shot against Edgar, who had knocked Maynard out to retain his belt months prior, at UFC 144, a card that also featured Pettis taking on veteran submission ace Joe Lauzon.
Henderson would go on to outpoint Edgar after five extremely close -- dare I say, controversial -- rounds while Pettis destroyed Lauzon via head kick knockout in just over a minute. After the event, UFC President Dana White set the wheels in motion for Pettis to rematch Henderson.
But Edgar wouldn't go away so easy.
While White was busy trying to convince him to move down to featherweight, a more natural weight class for him, even promising him an immediate title shot, "The Answer" was demanding an immediate rematch. He gave one to both B.J. Penn and Maynard, after all; he should get the same respect.
When White was unsuccessful in his bid to convince him otherwise, he set up the rematch and now Pettis is once again on the outside looking in. Perhaps that's why rumors started to fly regarding his potentially dropping down to fight Aldo but he has every reason to stay at lightweight.
Especially if Henderson defeats Edgar for a second time. "Showtime" beat him once, he knows he can beat him again.
In the meantime, though, he may very well have to risk his number one contender status. But against who? For that will have to stay tuned. No matter what, though, we now know his next fight will be at 155-pounds.
Like it or not.