Anthony Pettis was once guaranteed a title shot, now he's coming off a one-year layoff and there's no chance at UFC gold in the foreseeable future.
He's not too thrilled about that.
"I mean it sucks where I ended up after the loss [to Clay Guida]," Pettis told the media at a conference call at which Bleacher Report was present. Pettis was referring to a lopsided decision loss to Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale in 2011.
Pettis had just come in from the WEC, where he was the lightweight champion. He was offered an immediate title shot against the winner of Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard II, but the fight was a draw.
Unwilling to rot on the sidelines until after Edgar-Maynard III, Pettis took a fight against Clay Guida. He lost, and his career has yet to fully recover.
"I didn’t get the title shot. Here I am two years [later] still working my way up. But I think everything happens for a reason. Guida exposed a hole in my game. He made me work harder, made me a better fighter," said Pettis.
However, losing to Guida was only minor setback. A shoulder injury that Pettis suffered in 2012 was the real culprit that stunted his the growth of his career, keeping him out of action for almost an entire year.
That's in the past now.
"I feel ready. I had to get a surgery done. I took the proper long time off, and I’m feeling good," Pettis said.
Not all people in MMA responded kindly to Pettis' injury and long absence from the sport. His UFC on FOX 6 opponent Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was one of these people. Cerrone called out Pettis' "b*tch ass" and made other taunts towards Pettis.
The Wisconsin native was undeterred by Cerrone's provocations, and fervently denied that he was ducking Cerrone or anyone else.
"For him to be calling me out while I’m injured, it sucks," he said. "I couldn’t really take fights. I had a surgery, took a while to recover. I want to fight. I come here to fight. I took a fight when I didn’t have to against Guida. I’m not a guy that runs—ever. I’m not afraid of anybody in the division. I’m gonna fight everybody in the division."
Believe Pettis when he says that he'll fight everyone in the division; he believes that he's still the best there is at 155 pounds, despite the numerous changes that have happened at lightweight since he last fought in February 2012.
"The division has advanced so much...You got guys advancing, guys losing. I do feel like I am one of the best in the lightweight division. Come January 26, that question will be answered, if I’m at the top of the division," he said.
Pettis will have a chance to prove this on national television, on the UFC's sixth outing on Fox against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.