In his UFC 164 "Submission of The Night" performance last night (Sat., Aug. 31, 2013), Anthony Pettis showed that he could very well repeat history in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by capturing his second world title.
Check out our full UFC 164 results and play-by-play coverage right here.
"Showtime" defeated Ben Henderson for the second time, winning the rematch with a first round arm bar submission (watch full video highlights here) from their first bout at World Extreme Cagefighting's last event, WEC 53, in late 2010. Not only did "Showtime" submit "Smooth," he took the title away from him for a second time.
The newly-crowned champion did not leave unscathed, as according to Dana White at the press conference, Pettis' next move is uncertain because he popped his knee in the fight last night. It's the same knee that was giving him problems and forced him to withdraw from the "super" fight with Jose Aldo.
It does not mean we cannot glance at the options that will greet Pettis once he returns.
T.J. Grant was supposed to be in Pettis' pay-per-view (PPV) place last night at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., had he not been injured and able to face Henderson. While some conspiracy theorists believe Grant was paid off by the brass to have Pettis rematch Henderson in his hometown, this assumption carries not 1 percent of proof and is more of a conspiracy that judges the UFC as its own sort of illuminati.
Grant's striking is very powerful, as we saw with his consecutive knockouts over Gray Maynard and Matt Wiman, and that could give Pettis some problems. What could give him major problems, though, is Grant's wrestling, as well as his ability to over-muscle and grind out opponents, complete with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. Pettis' takedown defense looked good against Henderson, but one must not forget his Octagon debut, when Clay Guida frustrated him over the course of three rounds.
Say what you will about Grant's title shot and how he may not be the most popular or exciting fighter in the division, he is still a legitimate threat (read more on that here). He has never been stopped by strikes and if someone is crowned as a new champion in a specific division, he should look forward to defending that title in his division for the time being.
"Super" fights and larger than life match ups can wait.
That is the problem with the Jose Aldo matchup that Pettis -- and half of the MMA universe -- want to see.
This fight should have happened had Pettis not suffered a knee injury and despite the callout from the champion last night, "Scarface" should be concerned with the challengers at Featherweight right now, since that division is blossoming with guys like Ricardo Lamas (who desperately needs to be noticed as the next guy in line), Chad Mendes, Cub Swanson and even Frankie Edgar.
A cross-divisional title fight would be mouthwatering to say the least, but Pettis should be concentrated on the tasks at Lightweight first. So should Aldo, but Pettis has not accomplished nearly half of the accolades Aldo has in his proper division. It sucks, because we would like to finally see a "super" fight, but if the integrity of the sport depends on it, we cannot have "fun" matches just for the hell of it when contenders keep on arising.
There is a possible Henderson rematch in the near future, but for now, that makes absolutely no sense. "Bendo" has now lost to Pettis twice, and he was submitted last night, proving that he needs to work his way up as long as "Showtime" is the champion.
Would it be another great fight? Absolutely. Does it make any sense right now? Not really.
Although everyone is sick of rematches in the 155-pound division, the last man who gave Henderson a run for his money has never faced Pettis, and that is Gilbert Melendez.
With a win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 (even more so a stoppage victory), he should not be too far away at another crack at the title. The former Strikeforce Lightweight champion did enough to steal the split decision from Henderson in the eyes of many at UFC on Fox 7, but came up short. This would be a great fight to watch and as noted earlier, if Melendez can stop Sanchez, another title shot should come knocking.
Whenever the time comes for Pettis to take his next fight being 100 percent healthy, the options have presented themselves. It is just that the least exciting, but most deserving option seems like the right one.