There are a number of reasons why Anthony Pettis finds himself injured so often as of late. Intense training paired with inadequate rest, isolated accidents, or even just Lady Luck paying her uninvited visit. Regardless of the reason, the former #1 contender of both the LW and FW division is out nursing an injury. With the ever evolving landscape of these two divisions it will be interesting to see where Pettis goes from here.
At FW, Pettis's shot at 145 gold are shaky at best. Originally stepping down from his LW title shot in hopes of challenging and defeating Jose Aldo, Pettis has made no secret that he doesn't envision a future for himself at 145lbs. His desire to simply dethrone the featherweight king pin and jump ship back to LW isn't a popular notion with the Zuffa Brass. The FW division would be left without a champion should Pettis win. Crowning a new champion without defeating the champion would result in a paper champion. This would pose difficulties for the UFC to push the new champion as the best 145er in the world, especially considering the lighter divisions still don't have the fan support behind them as heavily as the heavier weight classes do. With the top dogs at FW earning their keep and the incoming surge of contenders including, but not limited to; The korean zombie, Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar, Dennis Siver, Cub Swansom, Chad Mendes, Nick Lentz, Clay Guida, and others, the climb to the division's top is a crowded race. All of this added to the fact Anthony Pettis hasn't exactly earned a FW title shot, he has earned a LW title shot.
At LW, Anthony Pettis is much more compelling. Fighting his whole career at LW Pettis even holds a victory over the current champ. However, Pettis gave up his LW title shot and has now lost his FW tithe shot due to injury. Should he still be considered the #1 contender at LW to face the Henderson/Grant winner? Enter our other fellow LW contender and injury prone fighter Josh Thomson. Arguably defeating Melendez in the third fight of their trilogy and being the first man to (T)KO former title challenger Nate Diaz, Thomson has entered the top 5 ranking at LW. While many fans thought Thomson would be lined up to face off with Cerrone after he defeated KJ Noons, Dana White quickly shot down the idea, stating that Thomson was close to his own title shot. Since then Cerrone has been matched up with RDA. With every other top 10 LW matched up with another fighter or coming off a loss, what is next for Thomson?
I believe it could very well be a match with Mr. Showtime.
While Anthony Pettis was promised a title shot we all know that in the UFC a promised title shot doesn't mean much till the contract is signed. Even then the oppertunity is not engraved in stone. Losing some of his momentum due to injuries and set backs, Pettis very well may welcome a contender fight before he jumps back in with the battle tested Benson Henderson. It will allow him to shake off any rust and further hone his abilities. Perhaps more importantly it can thrust pettis back into the public's eye with dominant performance
For Thomson, this gives him a fight that would clearly push him to the #1 contender slot should he beat former WEC champ and last man to defeat Henderson. It further proves his merit and would would allow the UFC fan base to become more familiar with Thomson. Thomson is coming off a successful elbow surgery while Pettis has an injury. This is an oppertunity for both men to establish their stake for UFC gold and establish a solid ground returning from injuries.
So what do you think is next for Josh Thomson and Anthony Pettis maniacs?