It's been 10 months since we last saw Anthony Pettis in a UFC Octagon, but the former Lightweight champion is dead set on reminding the mixed martial arts (MMA) masses why he's a respected force in the 155-pound division when he tangles with Eddie Alvarez in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 81.
"Showtime" will look to captivate the crowd inside TD Garden on Jan. 17, 2016, following his title loss to Rafael dos Anjos at the UFC 185 pay-per-view (PPV) last March, against the ex-Bellator Lightweight king Alvarez, who is searching for his first winning streak in ZUFFA.
Both men are used to such high expectations, which will they will face once again in this pivotal "Beantown" scrap, and Pettis is amped for the opportunity to close the book on Alvarez's rise.
"This time around, man, I've got a point to prove to myself. Not to anybody else, to my myself. For me, it's just proving to myself that I know I'm the best in the world and getting that spot back. Eddie is a dangerous fighter. It's hard to look impressive against the best in the world. It's a rare case that it happens. But he's dangerous, he's a good fighter who's been around for a long time. This is his last chance at a title run, so I'm looking to fight the best Eddie Alvarez out there."
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Indeed, Alvarez has fought the best that the 155-pound class has offered throughout his MMA career, which spans over 12 years and includes incredible contests with Michael Chandler and Shinya Aoki. However, he's fought just twice since Sept. 2014 -- albeit due to injury -- sporting a 1-1 UFC record.
The same injury bug has bit Pettis before, limiting him to just two Octagon jaunts since Aug. 2013. In 2015, the Milwaukee-based fighter was felled by a broken orbital bone, which was a product of the shellacking he received at the hands of "RDA."
The winner of this exchange between Top 5-ranked competitors is sure to bolster their UFC resume in an effort to obtain a title shot. But any title talks will be on hold -- at least for the next three months -- as this champion versus champion match up inches closer and closer.