The upcoming challenger for the UFC lightweight title, Anthony Pettis, doesn't believe champion Benson Henderson's wrestling advantage will be a difference-maker in their rematch at UFC 164 next month.
“That was the fastest fight of my life,” Pettis said. “It was just one of those I didn’t get up for. All I kept thinking was, ‘I’m going to knock this guy out, and I’ll get my title shot.’ Even during the fight, I thought I’d catch him in a triangle—catch him somewhere. It just never happened...
“Uh, I think he (Henderson) saw the Guida fight and he’s saying the same thing everybody else said. Ben did what he wanted to do in the first fight, we went five rounds, we both had our moments and I got my hand raised. People say they can go in and ‘Guida’ me, but that’s not happening again.”
Since the disappointing loss to Guida, Pettis has rattled off three straight wins, including back-to-back knockouts over perennial top-10 lightweights Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
The Roufusport standout was originally scheduled to make his 145-pound debut against divisional champ Jose Aldo at UFC 163, which takes place four weeks prior to UFC 164.
However, Pettis withdrew from the bout citing a knee injury and seemed content to take a lightweight bout with fellow contender Josh Thomson (via MMA Fighting).
Things got interesting when T.J. Grant, who was originally scheduled to fight Henderson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 31, withdrew from the fight after suffering a concussion (via Bloody Elbow).
Pettis was more than happy to fill in for Grant, though conspiracy theorists have been having a field day over the situation, especially since both Grant and UFC President Dana White assured the fans Pettis vs. Henderson II wouldn't happen this summer.
Whether it's an odd coincidence or an elaborate scheme—with Pettis and Grant arguing its definitely the former—the bottom line is that Pettis vs. Henderson II is indeed taking place next month at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Will "Bendo" be able to use his grappling advantage to outclass Pettis on the ground, a la Nate Diaz, or will Pettis prove that his loss to Guida really was a one-night only ordeal?