Injuries have limited former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis to two outings in the Octagon between 2014-15, but "Showtime" has plans of making up for lost time.
The Milwaukee-based combatant hasn't competed since a brutal beatdown at the hands of current titleholder, Rafael dos Anjos, at UFC 185 last March, but will look to start off 2016 on the right foot with a decisive victory over ex-Bellator champion, Eddie Alvarez, at UFC Fight Night 81 this Sunday night (Jan. 17, 2016).
Pettis chatted with MMA Fighting about what's possible with a win over the Philadelphia slugger.
"I don't feel like these guys are on my level when I'm 100 percent. When I'm 100 percent, I don't think anybody in the world can beat me. Yes, I was told [that I'd get a title shot], but I don't know if I'm going to wait anymore. I feel like I have been waiting for belts. I have a new contract with the UFC. I'm getting paid what I want to get paid and I feel like now is the time to get out there and just keep fighting."
Pettis earned a crack at the 155-pound strap following a 3-1 start to his ZUFFA career, but managed just two bouts once he captured the belt from rival Benson Henderson in Aug. 2013.
Injuries don't tell the whole story, however, as the 28-year-old striker also filmed a season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) opposite former Strikeforce 155-pound champion, Gilbert Melendez, who he defeated via guillotine choke in Dec. 2014.
His next opponent, Alvarez, was also bit by the injury bug in 2015 and is coming off of a split-decision victory over "El Nino" last June. Alvarez is currently 1-1 in his UFC tenure.
A victory for either man lands themselves in serious discussions for a title shot, which will likely be put on hold until later this year, while dos Anjos tends to featherweight ruler, Conor McGregor, at UFC 197 in March.