With his first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6, dynamic lightweight star Anthony Pettis extended his current win streak to three fights.
After the fact, Pettis questioned the cage-side Dana White as to what he has to do in order to garner a title shot.
In taking Saturday night's performance into account, Pettis may have already done what he must to be handed the opportunity.
Relative to other potential title players out there, Pettis' case is pretty ironclad. In fact, he's done far more than what current No. 1 contender Gilbert Melendez has done to deserve his shot, which will come this April.
The only legitimate challenge to Pettis' case comes in the form of Gray Maynard, who never lingers far from No. 1 contender status. Right now, "The Bully" is the only 155er beyond Pettis with much of a claim to the spot at the front of the lightweight line.
The question therefore becomes: Will Pettis be allowed to wait and fight the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez, or will he have to fight Maynard for the right to contest for UFC gold?
The answer that must be given, which is much less obvious than the question that must be asked, is that Pettis vs. Maynard has to happen. It's the only way to produce an undisputed championship challenger, and there is no logistical reason the bout cannot happen.
Pettis received no damage at UFC on Fox 6, and Maynard hasn't competed since June, 2012. That means both guys should have no trouble getting ready for a spring affair.
Furthermore, the timing of Henderson vs. Melendez ensures that no one involved will have to go through a prolonged period of time on the shelf.
From all angles, Pettis vs. Maynard simply makes sense. Because even if Pettis' claim to the No. 1 contender spot tops that of any other lightweight, it's not undeniable.
It would be if he can take out Maynard, as "The Bully's" would be if he is able to defeat Pettis.
So while a title shot may be in Pettis' immediate future, chances are he'll have one more obstacle before he finally gets what he's after. And that obstacle—Gray Maynard—presents no menial task.
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