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Michel Pereira says Anthony Pettis turned down fight at UFC Vegas 17, Pettis responds

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A fight between two of the flashiest fighters on the UFC roster was allegedly close to happening at UFC Vegas 17.

Michel Pereira and Anthony Pettis are both preparing to fight on Saturday night at the final UFC card of the year, UFC Vegas 17: Thompson vs. Neal, and it appears as though they almost met each other in the Octagon.

Pereira is scheduled to meet Khaos Williams on the main card, while Pettis is one half of the featured preliminary fight on ESPN+ opposite of Alex Morono. However, according to Pereira, he would have been the one facing Pettis had the former champ accepted the fight with him when the UFC offered it.

In an interview with Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting, Pereira says Pettis turned down the fight due to an injury, which bothered him when ‘Showtime’ got booked on the same card.

“I’m upset with Anthony Pettis because he said he was hurt, he had a back injury, and wouldn’t fight me, and I understood that, he’s hurt and can’t fight, OK, but now he’s fighting on the same card on the 19th,” Pereira said. “So why isn’t he fighting me? Is he scared? Or is it because I’m not ranked? Why? I almost didn’t get a fight in December because he was stalling for a month to say yes or no. He said no, and now he’s also fighting on the 19th.”

Although Pereira is firm in his belief that Pettis is allegedly afraid to fight him, Pettis says that could not be further from the truth. He revealed to Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting that the fight was indeed offered to him, but cleared up why he rejected it in the first place.

“When they offered me a fight on the 19th, I was looking at the 12th, the last fight card,” Pettis said. “If I’m gonna fight, I’d rather be on the last fight card of year, get an extra week. This was probably three weeks ago. I think they offered him to my agent for the 12th and I’m like, ‘I’d rather have the extra week.’ During that one week of negotiations when [Leon] Edwards got his COVID test results and pulled out because of COVID, that opened up a spot on the 19th card and I hit up Dana [White] myself [and said], ‘Dana, let me get on that card.’

With Pereira and Pettis set to fight on the same card, perhaps wins from both men could set up a potential future showdown between two of the most dynamic strikers in the welterweight division.