Before Anthony Pettis’s bout with Rafael dos Anjos, it was pretty clear that he would face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov-Donald Cerrone,provided he was victorious at UFC 185. That didn’t happen, however, and now it remains to be seen who “Showtime” will face next.
If you look at the lightweight rankings, names like Michael Johnson and Myles Jury pop out, since Pettis hasn’t fought them before. But, on a recent edition of “The MMA Hour”, Pettis relayed that he’s very much still interested in fighting his longtime rival, Nate Diaz (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“I haven’t thought about who I want to fight next,” Pettis said. “I can’t even say when I can fight next. But I would love to fight Nate Diaz. That’s a fight I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. If that’s next, I’m for sure down with that. I just gotta figure out when I’m able to fight again or when I can start even looking at dates to fight again.”
Pettis and Diaz have verbally battled for quite some time now, so it’s not surprising to hear that the former champ wants to throw down with the outspoken fighter next. Until UFC 185, however, the bout didn’t appear to be in the cards, since Diaz had lost his contender status as a result of recent losses to dos Anjos, Josh Thomson, and Benson Henderson.
There’s no question that Pettis-Diaz would move tickets, but the UFC might want to have the former champ take on a top ranked contender next. Diaz is currently not ranked in the lightweight division’s top 15. While discussing his future, Pettis also relayed the following:
“There’s a lot of guys I gotta fight,” Pettis said. “Now that I suffered this loss, I’m sure everybody thinks they want their shot at me, they want to take advantage of this. But it’s my job to get back out there and get back to the top. I think a couple more wins and I’ll be right back to where I was at.”
It will be interesting to see who Pettis faces next, and whether he can work his way back into a title shot. Prior to his bout with dos Anjos, the 28 year-old had won five straight fights, which included a title defense victory over Gilbert Melendez in December.