Not to be overshadowed on a ridiculous main card later tonight (Sat., Dec. 2, 2017) at UFC 218 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich., is an enticing flyweight matchup between former title challenger Henry Cejudo and rising contender Sergio Pettis.
As members of a division ransacked by current champion and pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo and Pettis are looking to stand out among the pack and do everything they can to lock down a title shot in 2018. Pettis, unlike Cejudo, remains one of the only names atop the division to never compete against “Mighty Mouse,” so his path to UFC gold is much shorter at this time.
Still, despite the opportunity at hand, Pettis isn’t necessarily eager to jump into a title fight opposite Johnson if he’s able to get past Cejudo’s wrestling and evolving striking later tonight at UFC 218. Instead, Pettis is willing to step aside, put his championship aspirations on the back burner, and let Johnson take his chances against current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in an already pitched superfight.
“I’m 24 years old, I’m getting better and better, and if they want me to fight again before a title, I’m good with that,” Pettis told MMAjunkie earlier this week. “I’m building my resume, getting some money on top of it and getting some experience. T.J. vs. DJ, that’s an interesting fight, even for me. I’m a fan of the sport. It’s entertainment and it makes sense. It’s part of the business. I have no hatred towards that. I understand it. If they want me to build my resume and get to that DJ shot, I will. If I have a great performance against Henry Cejudo, maybe I can get there.”
While a superfight between “Mighty Mouse” and Dillashaw would reinvigorate a rather depleted flyweight class, Pettis should be given his chance to shine with a spectacular finish over Cejudo this weekend in Detroit. After all, a victory over Cejudo would extend “The Phenom’s” current win streak to five.
“I want to get a knockout on my belt,” Pettis said. “First win by not decision. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to go out there and push the pace. I believe my style is different now. I’m not longer a little boy. I’m a grown man. My style is going to make him come in and think he has the power. I’m going to hit him with something hard and he’s not going to expect it. If not, I’m going to pick that face away all night.”
If Pettis is able to put an end to the resurgent Cejudo tonight at UFC 218 then the promotion is going to have some serious decisions to make. Dillashaw is obviously the money fight, but Pettis is the future of the flyweight division and a guy who will deserve a massive push to the top of the weight class.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 218 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.