Speculation is running wild as lightweights Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis continue to be linked together for their next respective fights. Both men figure to be a fight or two away from title contention, which makes a fight between the two an attractive option.
Both WEC veterans have shown to be formidable in their UFC careers, despite the fact that Cerrone has fought seven times in just over a year since the merger. Pettis, meanwhile, has only fought three times.
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of their eventual bout, whenever it should happen.
Both Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis are gifted strikers. There is no dispute about that.
Pettis, who trains with renowned kickboxer Duke Roufus, has a very unorthodox style. Just ask Benson Henderson, who was the recipient of the infamous "Showtime Kick" back in December of 2010.
Pettis' background in Taekwondo is extremely impressive. His most recent win, a head kick knockout of Joe Lauzon, proved how good he is at striking.
Meanwhile, Cerrone, a former United States Muay Thai champion, has made several strikers look weak in his tenure. He disposed of tough strikers Melvin Guillard, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver in the first round.
Cerrone is so crisp and technical. That does not mean he isn't powerful. Although he only has two knockouts to his name, it is because most fighters try to get him to the ground, where he works his submissions.
Cerrone's background and skill earn the edge here, even though it is extremely close.
Although neither Anthony Pettis nor Donald Cerrone have an extensive background in wrestling, it is easy to see their improvements over the years.
Pettis' wrestling was exposed in his UFC debut loss to Clay Guida. He was unable to stop the relentless attack that Guida brought.
He has since worked with Ben Askren, possibly the best wrestler in MMA, to get that part of his game fixed. He displayed this new skill in his decision win over Jeremy Stephens.
Cerrone also has improved throughout the years in his wrestling. Always a threat to be taken down, Cerrone worked hard on his wrestling, which was displayed successfully in his second fight with Jamie Varner.
In that fight, Cerrone outwrestled the wrestler en route to a decision win.
It is too close. Plus, I doubt we are see wrestling in this fight anyway.
One thing I will say about Anthony Pettis is that his submission game is vastly underrated. His striking is all anyone talks about, yet people forget that he is extremely dangerous off his back.
Cerrone's ground game is superb. His triangle choke and submission game in general is surprisingly efficient, especially for a guy with a rich striking background (13 career submission wins).
If this were to get into a grappling match, it would be quite interesting. Cerrone is effective on both the top and bottom, as is Pettis.
I think that Cerrone's aggressiveness and submission prowess would earn him the slight edge here.
When looking at these two warriors, the first intangible has to experience in the UFC. While Pettis has fought three times in the Octagon, Cerrone has belted off an impressive seven fights with the UFC.
That kind of experience will give Cerrone a huge edge when it comes to fight night.
Also, Cerrone's lankiness may come in to play here. Pettis is a little bit shorter and more compressed than Cerrone, who is tall and long.
This may affect Pettis' ability to establish range early. Seeing that Cerrone is generally a strong starter, this could be trouble for the Milwaukee native.
I will tell you one thing: This fight is going to be huge when it happens. There is no way that these two guys will not provide fireworks when they step in the cage.
The fight would likely be contested on the feet most of the time. Cerrone's technicality and richer striking arsenal would frustrate Pettis, who would eventually look to take the fight to the mat.
I doubt Cerrone would finish Pettis, but it is a possibility. Cerrone is almost as dangerous on the ground as he is on the feet.
It would be a clear-cut decision for the Greg Jackson disciple.
Prediction: Cerrone def. Pettis via decision