Jim Miller: Interim UFC lightweight title may be in order because Anthony Pettis 'lacks incentive' to return

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Miller becomes the latest lightweight to voice his displeasure at the lack of title fights in the 155-pound weight class.

Lorenzo Fertitta, you have Jim Miller on line one.

Much has been made about the lack of title defenses in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight division due to fact that Anthony Pettis has been on the sidelines with a knee injury.

After former division kingpin Ben Henderson voiced his displeasure with the lack of title defenses since he lost the title to "Showtime" in August of 2013 (video highlights), another 155 pounder has stepped forward to do the same.

Jim Miller -- who faces Donald Cerrone tonight (July 16, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 45 -- recently told Bloody Elbow that it may by high time to create an interim strap if Pettis doesn't defend the belt.

Which may very well be longer than expected, as Miller claims Pettis could be lacking the incentive to make his return, thanks to his recent deals with blue-chip sponsors like Reebok and Wheaties.

Miller vents:

"It's damn close to time for an interim title match. He's a talented kid, but he hasn't fought. He's over there signing some big endorsement deals and he hasn't defended. He's making money and hasn't even defended the title. That's going to give him even less incentive to come back and fight. I don't feel confident that he'll fight by the end of the year. If he doesn't, I think there should be an interim."

On the heels of the recent criticism, Pettis told Yahoo! Sports that the complaining fighters are flat out "uneducated" because if they really did their homework, they'd see why he's been out for so long.

Aside from healing up from an injury Pettis didn't choose to suffer, he was also booked to be a coach on Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) opposite Gilbert Melendez.  A three-month gig that he also didn't choose, as he was given the duty by his employer.

Though Anthony admits it was an opportunity he didn't want to turn down.

As "Showtime" claims, had it not been for the TUF gig, he could have very well been ready to fight this August instead of waiting until Jan 3, 2015, to defend his belt for the very first time.

A fight Miller isn't so confident Pettis will make.

Speaking of which, UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez has been on the shelf for just as long as Pettis and for the exact same reasons, yet not one brave soul has stepped up to begin the rally for an interim 265-pound title.

I wonder why?

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