It was a storybook ending for the hometown kid Anthony Pettis in front of thousands of fans in Milwaukee at UFC 164 as he put away Benson Henderson in the first round to finally claim his first UFC title.
It's been nearly three years since Pettis last faced and defeated Henderson in the final WEC card, and following that victory he was supposed to get a shot at the UFC champion.
Unfortunately at the time, then-champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard battled to a draw, which forced a rematch, and Pettis got pushed back onto the pile of contenders.
Finally on Saturday night, Pettis got his shot and certainly made the most of it.
Following a series of brutal body kicks that will make it hard for Henderson to breathe tomorrow, Pettis got a little overzealous with his flashy maneuvers and ended up on the ground, pulling guard from the bottom.
Pettis wasted no time, however, in working on his offense from there. He quickly kicked his hips up and locked in a tight armbar on the champion. Henderson squirmed and tried to get loose, but he was trapped—and after hearing a pop from his arm, he verbally submitted to referee Herb Dean.
Pettis then stood proud with the UFC gold around his waist with an entire arena full of supporters by his side to celebrate the moment with him.
It was a long time coming for Pettis to finally get this opportunity, and while he will let the celebration wash over him tonight, he didn't waste a moment with Joe Rogan's microphone in his face to ask for his next fight.
While the lightweight division's top contender may be T.J. Grant, who was supposed to face Henderson on Saturday before suffering a concussion, Pettis had a different idea in mind all together.
"Jose Aldo we've got some unfinished business," Pettis said. "Your belt or my belt."
Pettis was supposed to face Aldo earlier in August, but a knee injury weeks out from the fight forced him to withdraw. It was going to be his first fight at featherweight, but Pettis wanted the challenge because facing Aldo would have been a chance to take on one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Now with Aldo off a win in his last fight over "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung, and Pettis defeating Henderson to claim the lightweight title, putting the two champions together could be an even bigger fight than it would have been before.
Pettis vs. Aldo could be a huge fight for the first part of 2014 with a champion-against-champion scenario happening for the first time since Georges St-Pierre as the welterweight champion took on lightweight champ B.J. Penn at UFC 94 in 2009.
It would put the brakes on two divisions moving forward and forces a fighter like Grant, who was already supposed to be competing for the belt, back in line. Yet the UFC would be hard-pressed to find a bigger fight in the lighter weight divisions than pitting Pettis versus Aldo.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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