Photo by Scott Petersen via MMA Weekly.
WEC champ Anthony Pettis experienced a roller coaster at UFC 125. He'd been promised an immediate title shot against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard. When that fight was ruled a draw Pettis was initially reassured that he would get the next crack at the champ Frankie Edgar, but then Dana White changed his mind and awarded Maynard a rematch.
For a while it was up in the air whether or not Pettis would wait for his title shot or risk it all in a fight against a top UFC contender. Now it's been decided, per MMA Weekly:
Mike Roberts of MMA Inc., Pettis' management company, told MMAWeekly.com on Friday that Pettis would be returning to the cage instead of sitting out for nearly a year to wait for a title shot.
"Anthony was obviously disappointed in not getting the title shot, but he also understands why Dana made that decision," Roberts said. "After consulting with Anthony and Duke Roufus, we collectively decided that it would be in Anthony's best interest to take a fight in the meantime.
"A 10-month or possible year layoff was just too long. We believe with a win against a top lightweight contender Anthony will still get the title shot later in the year".
Dave Meltzer talks to Pettis about some of the possibilities:
"I only want to face guys at the top - George Sotiropoulos, Clay Guida, Jim Miller, [Sean] Sherk, anybody that makes sense," said Pettis. "I don't want to fight someone who isn't high level. If I fight, I think I've earned fighting the best guys."
This is the best outcome. Sitting on the shelf does terrible things to fighters, particularly very young fighters like Pettis who have a lot of momentum behind them. Sure he's taking a big risk by facing anyone of the contenders in the murderer's row that is the UFC lightweight division, but the bigger risk would be getting rusty and losing his motivation while enduring a lengthy hiatus.
WEC champs Carlos Condit and Steve Cantwell certainly didn't get immediate UFC title shots when their divisions were absorbed into the UFC. Pettis, due to his youth and rapid development might yet prove to be a UFC champion, but at this point he's an untested proposition in the UFC.