Anthony Pettis in Line for Lightweight or Featherweight Title Shot Upon Return
It's nice to have options, and if there is a bright side to Anthony Pettis' recent knee injury, it's the news that he's still in line for a title shot—in two different weight classes.
Pettis recently suffered a slight tear in the meniscus in his knee, which put him on the shelf and out of his scheduled fight at UFC 163 against featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
The fight was actually the former WEC champion's first drop to the featherweight division, which he even said was all about the challenge of facing someone the caliber of Aldo in the Octagon. Pettis also decided to make the drop out of frustration from waiting for a shot at the UFC lightweight title, currently held by Benson Henderson.
Pettis is actually the last fighter to defeat Henderson when they fought on the final WEC show in 2010
With his knee ailing, Pettis will now have to watch Aldo battle "The Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung. Then, just a few weeks later, he will witness Henderson's title shot against current top contender T.J. Grant.
Pettis commented in a statement to Fuel TV on Saturday night that he actually believes his knee will be healthy enough that he could replace Grant, if the UFC asked, and face Henderson on the UFC 164 card.
UFC President Dana White was quick to shoot that idea down, not only because Grant has now earned his shot at the title but also because Pettis won't be ready in time to compete on August 31 despite his claims otherwise.
"Anthony Pettis' knee is not bad, but it's not good," White said when speaking to the media after UFC 161 ended. "He doesn't require surgery, (but) he's going to have to go into therapy.
"He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said he's out for a good six weeks, and he needs a good therapist, and he needs to get his knee back. That's what our doctor said. He talked to a therapist in Milwaukee who told him three weeks. I could give a s—t what the therapist in Milwaukee things, I'm listening to the doctor. I'm going to fly him out to Vegas to see Dr. Saunders, too, for a second opinion."
While Pettis' hopes of fighting in his hometown of Milwaukee headlining UFC 164 were quickly shot down, he still received good news in terms of his next fight in the Octagon.
Pettis still hasn't decided which weight class he will return at, but he is now considered the top contender at both lightweight and featherweight upon his return, and he could battle for either title once his knee is back to full health.
"He's definitely in line. We'll see what happens," White said. "He could do either. He could fight Aldo, (or) he could fight the winner of Henderson and T.J. Grant."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
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