'Amused' Anthony Pettis says he's not dropping to featherweight because he's scared to fight Ben Henderson

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Could Anthony Pettis be dropping down to the UFC's featherweight division to avoid another fight against current 155-pound champion Ben Henderson? "Showtime" says that is the furthest thing from the truth.

With his long-desired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title fight secured after his win over Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 6, Anthony Pettis felt it was time to drop down to the featherweight division and challenge for that title, instead.

While many felt the move was unwarranted and confusing all at the same time, "Showtime" was gifted the 145-pound title fight by the UFC, which is set to go down this August.

That's right around the same time the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez would likely be ready to defend their 155-pound title after battling on April 20, 2013 at UFC on FOX 7.

So why the drop?

Did Pettis see a weakness in Aldo's game during his bout against Frankie Edgar at UFC 156? Is "Showtime" avoiding a potential rematch against current 155-pound champion, Ben Henderson?

The Roufusport-trained fighter spoke to BJPenn.com to break it all down:

"The biggest reason I never went down to 145 was because of my teammate, Erik Koch. He was right there for a title shot, he almost fought Aldo. I always knew I could make '45, but I was wrecking things at '55 and I never had to drop down. I've been reading some of the blogs and people are claiming I'm scared to fight Henderson, but it's nothing like that. It wasn't anything that I saw during the fight, like he (Aldo) had a weakness in his game or I could beat him here or do this to him. Aldo's a great fighter and I'm in this game to fight the best and fight the fights that people want to see. I think all the fans want to see this fight, I can make '45. You have one of the toughest guys in his division just wrecking it and he's considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters. That right there just amuses me and has me interested in this fight."

For anyone to think Pettis is running from a possible fight against "Smooth" is quite puzzling to say the least, seeing as how he is the last man to defeat Henderson, taking his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 155-pound title back at WEC 53 in 2010.

Not to mention Anthony believes Aldo is a tougher fight than a Benson rematch will be.

At the end of the day, according to Pettis, there is much more to gain from defeating a fighter the caliber of Aldo than there would be if he bests Henderson one more time. Of course, it's not a foregone conclusion that "Smooth" will still be sitting pretty at the top of the lightweight ladder after April 20 if "El Nino" has a say in the matter.

But, just because Pettis is making the drop down to 145 pounds, doesn't mean he's giving up on his UFC lightweight championship dreams, just yet.

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