Anthony Pettis may want to think about changing his nickname from “Showtime” to “Hard Luck.” The 26-year-old former WEC lightweight champion just can’t seem to catch a break. The latest setback for Pettis saw him forced from the main event at UFC 163 due to a knee injury.
How Pettis got the UFC 163 main event booking against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was an example of a fighter trying to make his own luck. After defeating Donald Cerrone in January of this year, Pettis looked like he was going to get a shot at the UFC lightweight title. The problem was that he was going to have to wait for that shot.
Champion Benson Henderson already had a fight booked with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez for April, which put a potential title fight for Pettis pretty far into the future. Not wanting to wait and fearing a potential move to lightweight from Aldo, Pettis threw his hat in the ring and said he wanted a shot at Aldo at featherweight.
Dana says that Anthony Pettis texted him 10 mins ago and said he wants to move down to 145 to fight Jose Aldo at featherweight.— UFC (@ufc) February 3, 2013
That request was granted and the fight was booked for August 3 in Brazil, and everything was trucking along well until Pettis was injured.
Sherdog.com caught up with Pettis and asked him about the injury:
I injured my knee in Brazil, during the press conference. I was rolling with Phil Davis, went for a calf crusher position, he rolled the wrong way and my knee popped. I thought I was fine. I got on the plane, 11-hour flight, I get to Atlanta, and I can’t even walk, my knee's swollen, so I got the MRI done. I tore my LCL and unfortunately they said it’s an injury I can’t bounce back from in enough time to fight.
And just like that, another title shot evaporated for Pettis.
Pettis’ other shot at UFC gold that failed to come to fruition was supposed to happen sometime in early 2011. After the UFC absorbed the WEC, Pettis looked like he was in line for a unification bout, but the draw between then UFC champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard put the Pettis fight on the backburner until those two could rematch. Injuries to both Edgar and Maynard delayed that bout, and Pettis decided to take a fight instead of waiting for Edgar and Maynard to do battle once more.
That fight was the June 4, 2011 bout against Clay Guida. The 31-year-old Guida walked away from that contest with a unanimous decision victory, crushing any immediate title hopes for Pettis.
Pettis’ timing and luck have not been the best over the last two plus years, but he is only 26 years of age and remains ranked near the top of the lightweight division, so there’s plenty of time for things to reverse course for the former WEC champion.