Way back in December of 2010 the WEC was singing their swan song, this was to be their last show and were to be merged with the UFC, In the main event of the evening a virtually unknown fighter to the casual fans was fighting for the WEC Lightweight Title. This man was Anthony Pettis, supporting a 12-1 record and riding a 3 fight win streak all by way of finish, Pettis was fighting for not only the last WEC title but also a shot at the UFC Lightweight title.The man he was facing ,Ben Henderson,was coming off of three of the most exciting fights in recent memory with one, against Donald Cerrone, winning Fight of the Year. This fight was to say the least expected to be a barn burner but no one could have predicted what would come.
The fight was hotly contested throughout and going into the fifth round each fighter was even with two a piece on two of the judges score cards, this was anyone fight for the taking. Knowing that he needed to make something happen, Pettis decided to try the unthinkable. With 24 minutes of fighting behind him "Showtime" used every last ounce of energy he had to attempt a cage launched head kick. With a back peddling Henderson, Pettis ran, jumped, and launched himself off the cage and following through with a picture perfect head kick, dropping the champion to the canvas, at this moment a star was born. Unable to finish after the kick the fight went to the judges with Pettis winning by unanimous decision with scores of (48-47) (48-47) and (49-46). The kick justifiably sealed the deal for Pettis, but this wasn't enough for hm, no he already had his sights on his next target, The UFC Lightweight title. Pettis was promised the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard and with only a month to wait the timing couldn't be more perfect, or so it seemed.
Edgar and Maynard ended up being even more unexpected and surprising as Pettis's "Showtime" Kick. The two fought a hard back and forth war for the ages with the bout going to the judges, as everyone watched in anticipation to see who clutched the belt in a razor close fight, Pettis was waiting to hear his next opponent announced, but than it happened, The fight was ruled a Draw shutting down Pettis's hopes of an immediate title shot, so instead of letting the ring rust build up, "Showtime" took a fight in the mean time, it was a fight he was expected to win, on The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale, he fought Clay Guida. To much of the surprise of Pettis, and the MMA community, he lost a unanimous decision that saw him get controlled on the mat for the better part of the three rounds. Not only did Pettis lose the fight he in turn lost his shot at the Lightweight Title, dropping Pettis down to the bottom of a contender stacked division. On top of this Pettis watched the man he defeated win the UFC title he wanted so bad, Ben Henderson.
Fast forward Three fights including two back to back Knock-out of the Night awards and Pettis was back on the fast track to the lightweight title, but after seeing the man he was expected to face in Frankie Edgar lose to Jose Aldo in a featherweight Title bout, he decided to take the fast track to a title and drop and an additional 10 pounds to the 145 pound limit. With the match set and everything ready to go it finally looked as if "Showtime" would get his crack at UFC gold, but this wouldn't be the end of his long road to a belt.
A month out from his scheduled bout with Aldo, Pettis suffered a Minor But fight stopping Meniscus tear, at this point it seamed as if "Showtime" couldn't catch a break, but finally something would happen at the cost of someone but in the favour of Pettis. T.J Grant the next man to face Benson Henderson for the title would suffer a fight threatening concussion, therefore knocking him out of his bout with the champ, with Pettis cleared and ready to fight he will be stepping in for Grant and will fight Benson Henderson in a rematch of their Fight of the Year in his home town. Heres' to hoping that Pettis can stay healthy and that this fight is as much of a classic as their first meeting.