Just a few months ago, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis was deemed to be untouchable, one of the pound-for-pound best. Then came Rafael dos Anjos and dismantled the former lightweight kingpin over the course of five rounds. The show has been stopped, the title was gone. In January, Pettis will face former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez and wants to earn himself another shot at gold.
"For me, it's just a comeback fight. I want to compete and get my belt back," Pettis told GNP1.de. "I was on top of the world, had a bad performance. That wasn't me in that fight, you know? I feel like, if that fight would have happened ten times, nine out of ten I would have beat him. It was just that one day that I was off, I wasn't myself."
Now, Pettis is back in hunger mode, as he calls it, feels, that he is still the number-one lightweight in the world. He will have to prove it against the man, who was long considered to be the best 155-pounder outside of the UFC.
"I think Eddie's tough, he has great hands, he's been around for a long time, he's been in five-round fights, so we know, he has the gas tank, the ability to compete at the highest level."
A win over him could bring Pettis back into title contention, he's the only option that makes sense, he says. Meanwhile, a vocal Irishman is making lots of waves a weight class below, and threatens to conquer the 155-pound division: interim-featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor.
"It's all talk until it happens man. He talks well, he's doing a great job for his weight class. I mean, there would be no big money fights in featherweight, besides... that's why I was gonna move down there. Me and Aldo was gonna be a big money fight for Aldo, but now with Conor McGregor in there, talking himself up, making himself marketable. Good for him doing that, but lightweight is a whole different place. It's not featherweight. Featherweight is... I mean, besides Aldo, there's not much..., I mean, there is talent, Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, (but) lightweight is the deepest division in the UFC, it's a totally different story. For him to say, he's gonna come up there and walk through everybody, it's crazy. He's only beat Chad Mendes, one guy in the featherweight class that's top five."
Should McGregor's talk remain what it is right now -- plain talk -- Pettis would be willing to even drop down to 145-pounds to face either him or Jose Aldo there, after he has reclaimed his belt.
"Yeah, for sure. I mean, featherweight has always been an option. I want my belt back, that's my main goal. You know, I'm doing well financially, I'm not hurting at all. So for me, the goal right now is getting my belt back. What happens after that fight, we'll see. People wanna see McGregor, I fight McGregor, people wanna see Aldo, I fight Aldo, that's what it's all about."
You can watch the whole video interview above.