UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis said he’s had a “bad run” with injuries as of late, but when he’s again healthy to fight, there are no restrictions he sees in potential opponents.

“I think anybody at 155 is something that could happen,” Pettis told MMAjunkie Radio. “They all want the belt. I know how it is to chase that dream.”

Before he submitted Henderson to capture the title at 155 pounds, Pettis’ road to the UFC belt was long and winding. It took him three years to capture it after beating Henderson a first time in the now-defunct WEC. Unfortunately, his arrival came with a setback – a knee injury that will keep him benched for up to six months.

Pettis (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) said he needs a break after a year of constant training. He fought and beat Donald Cerrone and rolled into a camp for a fight with featherweight champ Jose Aldo, only to jump into preparing for Henderson when another knee injury prevented him from facing Aldo.

But Pettis also feels a duty to give every title hopeful an opportunity to fight him, as he wanted when he was striving to earn a No. 1 contender position.

The 26-year-old champ still is convinced a fight with Aldo will happen at lightweight. Aldo, who next fights Ricardo Lamas, said he wants to “steal” Pettis’ belt.

“He has a fight in front of him on Super Bowl weekend, so Aldo is going to move up,” Pettis said. “It’s still definitely a possibility. I think Dana White wants to see it, the fans want to see it, and I want to make it happen.”

Then there’s Josh Thomson, whom he was scheduled to meet at UFC on FOX 9 in December. He’s fine with rescheduling.

T.J. Grant? When the Canadian recovers from the lingering effects of a concussion, he’ll get the title fight he earned earlier this year. Gilbert Melendez? The former Strikeforce champ is on a roll and would get fans talking. Nate Diaz? There’s some backstory and a potential grudge match. Benson Henderson? He’d have to earn it, but a third fight is possible.

Even B.J. Penn?

“I think it’s going to hurt him to cut to 145,” Pettis said of the ex-champ’s impending move to featherweight opposite ex-champ Frankie Edgar. “B.J. is one of the guys that I look up to. If a fight ever did happen, it would be an honor to fight him. It’s B.J. Penn – he’s one of the best lightweights of all time. I have no problem with fighting him.”

The question now is who has dibs. Grant was widely thought to be the first in line before UFC President Dana White said he might need to fight again before getting the title shot promised him. Aldo, Thomson, Diaz and Penn are booked. Melendez is the only one with a clear schedule.

“I think the division needs some time to play out,” Pettis said. “When I was coming up for a title shot, there were so many No. 1 contenders I couldn’t get a title fight. Now, there’s really no clear No. 1 contenders.”

Pettis, though, is happy the UFC decided against putting an interim title up for grabs, as they recently did in the bantamweight and welterweight divisions.

“I don’t want any interim champ getting created,” he said. “I don’t want there to be any confusion about who’s the best in the world at 155, so my whole thing is get the surgery, move past it, and move forward.

“I’m that guy that takes fights. Everybody is talking trash on Twitter – ‘Pettis is always injured, he’s backing out of fights’ – I’ve backed out of one fight in my life, and this is the second one. It sucks to do it, but injuries happen. It’s just part of the sport. This one of those injuries that I can’t keep going on. If I could, I would fight the fight. I can’t even check a kick; I can’t even kick.”

If you’ve seen Pettis fight, you know that’s a pretty important part of his game. Although the fighter believes he’ll be able to bounce back without missing a step, he’s noticed a change in his body that’s shifted his priority toward taking better care of himself.

“I’ve never had knee injuries in my life, except for the (Jose) Aldo camp,” he said. “I never was injury prone, but the last couple of years with the shoulder surgery and the knees, I just can’t catch a break. I feel like I just need some time to rest the body.”

What hasn’t changed, however, is his attitude toward competition.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

For more information on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC on FOX 23's Donald Cerrone: 'I'm going to get this belt in 2017'

  • 29 days ago
  • 25 views

Donald Cerrone wants 2017 to be one of the defining years of his career. Before the next 12 months pass, “Cowboy” said he wants to hold the UFC welterweight belt.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Ronda Rousey's Next Opponent Could Be the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 48 views

Former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey may have chosen her next opponent and the fight will take place outside of the Octagon. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 107 ticket pre-sale starts today £40 ($50 US) gets you in the door in London

  • 29 days ago
  • 4 views

Just £40 ($50 US) will get you in the door for the UFC’s return to London in March. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Fans invited to open workouts, weigh-ins for this week's UFC on FOX 23 in Denver

  • 29 days ago
  • 7 views

If you live in the Denver area, or are heading to the Rockies for a fighting-based vacation, you’ll have some chances to check out events for this week’s UFC return to Denver. Filed under: News, UFC, read news >>

UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping expects spring return – and wants a money fight

  • 29 days ago
  • 27 views

We may not see UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping back in action until the spring, but when he returns, he wants one thing – and it’s something that has been a pretty common refrain in the spo read news >>

Video: A look behind the scenes of UFC efforts to 'accelerate the evolution of the MMA athlete'

  • 29 days ago
  • 37 views

LAS VEGAS – When the UFC broke ground in January 2016 for a new 184,000-square foot corporate campus in Las Vegas, company executives invested in more than just improved office space.Filed under: Fea read news >>

Ronda Rousey Attended Standing Rock Protest Against Dakota Access Pipeline

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

UFC star Ronda Rousey traveled to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota last week to bring protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline project "fresh fruit, veggies, bread, tents and a wo read news >>

The Complete Guide to UFC on Fox 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

The UFC heads to Denver for a fun, well-matched card on Fox this Saturday. In the main event, decorated kickboxer Valentina Shevchenko takes on rising The Ultimate Fighter winner Julianna Pena. With read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2369 with UFC on FOX 23's Raphael Assuncao, John McCarthy

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

Stream or download Tuesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Raphael Assuncao and John McCarthy.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>

UFC on FOX 23's Raphael Assuncao says he's seen it all, and Sterling brings nothing new

  • 28 days ago
  • 4 views

UFC bantamweight Raphael Assuncao said he “wasn’t quite there 100 percent” when he faced ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw this past July at UFC 200, and he’s changed his training to reverse his fortunes. File read news >>