With Anthony Pettis Set To Face Donald Cerrone, Expect 'Showtime' To Make Good On Dana White's Promises

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting.

It's probably not difficult being Anthony Pettis. He's a good looking, talented, exciting young fighter who has the talent to be the UFC champ if his win over current UFC champion, Benson Henderson, is any indication.

But being Anthony Pettis the UFC LW contender probably is difficult.

The guy simply can't catch a break. Pettis, as many know, was promised a title shot following his epic battle with Henderson going into the title fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard at UFC 125. A few evil punches from Maynard, and a rousing comeback later, and Pettis was put on the backburner so that Edgar and Gray could settle the score.

Injuries to both fighters before their third bout ensured Pettis would have to ‘keep warm'. What followed was a brief ‘cold period' between Pettis and fans.

Now that Nate Diaz is the official number one contender, Pettis is once again being passed up, despite an ostensible confirmation from Dana White that he would finally get his shot following UFC 144 after Pettis' brutal knockout of Joe Lauzon. Though an injury played a part in his current absence, he'll be back in the saddle again.

Hopefully readers will forgive me for extending my unpopular thesis into another post, but something that bears repeating. At the time, Pettis was considered a cautionary tale when he decided to take the Clay Guida fight, and ultimately lost.

Even worse, he lost in lackluster fashion. Guida took him down, and didn't do much else. Fights like these always end up with two and only two different reactions from fans: "Clay Guida is boring", and "Anthony Pettis wasn't ready". The glass is always half empty in the world of MMA.

Which is unfortunate, because I think Guida's performance was valuable. Not from an entertainment perspective, but in terms of the learning curve. ‘Showtime' first experienced defeat against Bart Palaszewski in a questionable decision, but it was a loss that revealed his flaws.

His flaws remained, but there were signs they were beginning to disappear against Shane Roller, who at the time many assumed would just take him down and keep him there like Bart did (when he was effective at least). Roller did what he needed to do, and Pettis adapted, showing better form in defending takedowns, eventually scoring a submission win.

Pettis appeared to take a step back in his fight against Jeremy Stephens. But seemed back again against Joe Lauzon, appearing learned in the cage, and much more fluid thanks to the tough experience of previous bouts.

The dust of Edgar has cleared, and Pettis couldn't ask for a better matchup than Donald Cerrone. A win puts him right back where he belongs with the inevitable promise of a title shot. One you expect Dana to make good on since he's quoted as saying (with a smile) "we'll make it up to Pettis" in his post fight interview with Ariel Helwani when pressed about the failed promises.

Personally I think Pettis wins a Cerrone fight comfortably. He's more calm and far less reckless. Where Pettis seems to improve, Cerrone appears a bit stagnant, slugging it out when compelled, and never with any semblance of a gameplan.

We may say "poor Anthony Pettis" for now. But his opponents are more likely to say "poor us" in the future.


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