Anthony Pettis Will Face Winner of Henderson vs. Melendez for Lightweight Belt

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2013

At long last, Anthony Pettis will get a shot at UFC gold.
At long last, Anthony Pettis will get a shot at UFC gold.David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

At long, long last, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will be getting his crack at the UFC lightweight championship. Via UFC Tonight on Twitter:

#Breaking: @danawhite says "no doubt about it" @showtimepettis will face the winner of @bensonhenderson vs. @gilbertmelendez for the title!

— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) January 27, 2013

This comes on the heels of Pettis' impressive performance in a first-round TKO of Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6 Saturday night. Now he'll get to face either Benson Henderson or Gilber Melendez for the UFC lightweight title. 

For those that don't remember, Pettis beat Henderson, the current UFC lightweight champion, at WEC 53 to become the final champion of the popular promotion. The fight was incredibly close, until Pettis landed the famous “Showtime Kick,” where he leaped off the cage and cracked Henderson with a kick to the jaw. Henderson survived the round, but Pettis found himself getting the nod from judges at the end of a fight that is widely regarded by fans as one of the greatest fights of all time.

This was supposed to lead to a shot at the winner of the championship bout between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard—a bout that ended with a draw. This meant Pettis would not be able to fight for the belt, and he instead faced Clay Guida, losing by decision.

As Henderson climbed to the top of the 155-pound pile, though, Pettis found himself remaining on the short list of contenders because of his WEC victory. Now, riding on three impressive victories including two highlight-reel knockouts, Anthony Pettis will finally get his shot at gold.

Pettis will have to wait until after UFC on Fox 7 before knowing who will face him for the belt, though. The card is headlined by the aforementioned bout between Henderson and Melendez, Strikeforce's final lightweight champion.

Both fights promise to be exciting, so keep an eye on us here at Bleacher Report to find out when and where the fight will take place.