Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis targeted for late January

Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Chael Sonnen may not need a #1 contender fight to get a title shot against Jon Jones, but Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis will go to battle to decide who gets to fight the UFC lightweight champion, whether that be Ben Henderson or Nate Diaz.

While the UFC has completely muddled the light-heavyweight picture by vaulting Chael Sonnen into the #1 contender spot against Jon Jones, there is an actual #1 contender fight waiting in the wings in the lightweight division. Former WEC stars Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis were originally considered for the coaching spots on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, but the UFC went with Uncle Chael and Jonny Bones instead. The new plan is to have Showtime and Cowboy fight each other in January. MMA Weekly has the story:

Now with the show going in another direction, Cerrone and Pettis will instead meet in a lightweight showdown in early 2013.

Sources have indicated when speaking to on Tuesday that the fighters have already agreed to a match-up, and are currently awaiting word from the UFC on a date and location for their bout.

The fight is likely to take place at a card in late January, but no finalized plans have been made yet as the 2013 UFC schedule has yet to be made.

The last time the UFC held a card in late January was UFC on FOX 2, headlined by Rashad Evans and Phil Davis.

There really is zero excuse for this fight not to be the main event of an FX or FOX show, which in itself implies it's a five-round fight. The odds of this being a boring fight are roughly the same as Fernando Yamasaki allowing grappling. Pettis is still recovering from shoulder surgery and as Tim Burke told you earlier, he says he's hoping to return in January.

I'm hoping it's on FOX, particularly in the middle of the NFL playoffs for advertisement, but anything that puts this in a position to be five-rounds works for me and I really can't wait to see this fight.

If there's anything that I find concerning it's that the UFC was willingly going to let Anthony Pettis not fight until April. That means that Pettis would go 14 months between fights in addition to the fact that Diaz and Henderson are fighting in December. That's a textbook example of using TUF to further clog the top of the division and thankfully that's not going to be the case here.

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