In the wake of recently announced UFC bout of Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo, the featherweight division continues its torrential log jam atop the 145-pound division. Now that the UFC has added two newcomers into the featherweight division in the last 6 months (Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis) the long-standing featherweight’s frustrations begins.
With Jose Aldo now occupied with Anthony Pettis until August of this year, and just coming off his “Superfight” with Frankie Edgar, the UFC featherweight division feels more like the DMV waiting room. While newer challengers continue to leap divisions, it continues to stifle the UFC elite fighters.
We also see this relevant in the light heavyweight division with Champion Jon Jones occupied with Chael Sonnen until the end of April, and current welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre tied down with Nick Diaz until April as well.
Don’t get me wrong, these are fights that I very much want to see, but the UFC cannot continue to give ‘one loss’ challengers a shot at the title (with Pettis being the exception). The only difference is that I don’t really want to see the Pettis vs. Aldo fight. It’s intriguing for sure to see if Pettis can be the first to capture two UFC titles at once, but if we’re realistic about it, Anderson Silva would already own that title.
Pettis’ drop to 145 is completely absurd and means nothing more than a fight, because I don’t think Anthony plans on staying at 145. Here are my solutions to Pettis’ waiting problem and the featherweight division.
~ Chang Sung Jung ~
Jung has been awaiting his shot at the title since his fight of the night performance against Dustin Poirier, in which the Korean Zombie submitted Poirier in the 4th round via D’arce choke. A reminder, that fight happened May 15, 2012. It’s been nearly 8 months since Jung has last fought and is more deserving of a title shot.
Jung is now the holder of two back-to-back submissions of the year, and knockout of the night performance, in which he tied the UFC record for the fastest knockout. Chang Sung Jung and Pettis are both currently on a 3 fight win streak. How could the fan favorite Korean Zombie be passed over?
~ Chad Mendes vs. Anthony Pettis ~
Chad Mendes is primarily a wrestler and Anthony Pettis has not fared so well against former lightweight contender Clay Guida. Now, lo and behold, Clay Guida has dropped weight classes as well, and won a very controversial decision over Hatsu Hioki in his featherweight debut. I would love to see Anthony Pettis fight another well rounded grappler, even though Pettis fought Joe Lauzon and completely outclassed him on the feet. Pettis also barely squeaked out a win against Jeremy Stephens.
Be aware though that Pettis holds submission wins over WEC Alum Alex Karalexis and Shane Roller. On the other hand, Chad Mendes (since his knockout loss to Aldo) has spent a total of 2:26 in the octagon with definitive wins over Cody McKenzie and Yaotzin Meza. Mendes continues his climb back up the ladder and would be a very good challenge for Pettis, especially if he would like to become a champion at 145. This scenario could very much solidify Pettis’ standing in both divisions.
~ Grey Maynard vs. Anthony Pettis ~
Even though Pettis knocked out a Top 10 competitor in Donald Cerrone, another fight at lightweight against a well-rounded Gray Maynard at UFC on Fox 7 would be a great match-up, and further regard him as a top lightweight contender. Maynard has been on the shelf since June of 2012, as he had to pull out of his fight against Joe Lauzon with a cited knee injury.
Maynard’s previous fight was his controversial split decision win over Clay Guida in which both fighters never engaged. The Maynard-Guida fight will go down as the top 10 worst moments of 2012. Regardless, Gray Maynard has a lot left in the tank and provides Pettis with a well-rounded striking game, as well as a very accomplished ground game. While this solution is meant for Showtime’s wait problems, its helps keep the featherweight contenders from waiting themselves.
~ Anthony Pettis ~
He could simply decide to just stay at his own weight class and wait for Benson Henderson or fight another top contender. Enough said.
~ In Conclusion ~
The UFC’s super fight matchmaking has been ok, but Pettis’ drop in weight to fight Aldo makes no sense; nor does it promote great match making and great fights. Help keep the log jam clear and have the current featherweight contenders fight for their chance at a championship title.
With great fighters such as the Chang Sung Jung, Ricardo Lamas, and Cub Swanson and featherweight newcomers, Clay Guida and Dennis Siver (who completely dominated Phan in his first fight at featherweight), Jose Aldo has plenty on his plate at the moment. UFC must keep the divisions from becoming diluted and new challenger’s from texting Dana for a championship bout.
Watch a fun fan made highlight reel of Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in the video below.