Anthony Pettis Expected to Be Sidelined 6 to 8 Months, Hopes for Nate Diaz

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2013

Jan 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA;  Anthony Pettis celebrates after defeating Donald Cerrone (not pictured) during UFC on FOX 6 at the United Center.  Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of an impressive victory to capture the UFC lightweight throne, current champion Anthony Pettis has come down with the injury bug, again.

As good as Pettis is and as good as he was opposite Benson Henderson back in August, "Showtime" has only fought three times since 2011.

Remember, he was scheduled to take on pound-for-pound phenom and featherweight king Jose Aldo back at UFC 163 but ultimately had to pull out because of a knee injury.

Now, after securing a first-round submission to win the belt and with worthy contenders waiting in limbo, Pettis has once again hit the sidelines.

“The doctor said six to eight months, so I’m hoping six months,” Pettis told UFC Tonight about his impending Dec. 12 surgery to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament, originally reported by Jeff Cain of MMA Weekly.  “I want to be back by summertime.  Hope to get a July fight.”

May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  Nate Diaz before his lightweight bout against Jim Miller during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Nate Diaz wins by submission in round two Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The unfortunate news regarding surgery around the holidays wasn't the only bomb the 26-year-old dropped.  As a matter of fact, the Duke Roufus product can't wait to get back to defend his belt against none other than Nate Diaz.

"Nate Diaz has been talking so much," added Pettis.  "And his last fight, he actually looked pretty decent, but it’s hard to judge against Gray Maynard.  I hope Nate works his way up, and we get to fight."

Now it's difficult to imagine that Diaz would leapfrog prominent contenders like TJ Grant, Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson, especially since Thomson knocked him out back in April, but it's good to see the lightweight division creating buzz in the absence of its champ.

As for Pettis' health moving forward, we can only hope that his perennial knee problems cease to exist.  He's too young and too entertaining to fight only once a year.

Not to mention, the 155-pound crop heap has recreated itself since the departure of Frankie Edgar and Clay Guida.  This just isn't a good time to sit out.


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