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Renato Moicano calls out Anthony Pettis for lightweight duel

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Formerly top ranked UFC featherweight Renato Moicano wants to fight a former UFC lightweight champion.

The last time we saw Renato Moicano was in March, when he made short work of Damir Hadzovic at UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Oliveira. At that event, which was the first to go on without fans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Brazilian submitted his Bosnian opponent in just 44 seconds.

The quick win over Hadzovic was Moicano’s lightweight debut. Previously he had put together a run that, at one time, solidified him as a dark horse contender in the UFC’s featherweight division.

It seems as though Moicano is happy with his transition to 155 lbs. Recently he told James Lynch of Line Movement that he wants his next fight to be at that weight and he wants it to be against a former champion.

“I fought the best at 145 and I want to fight the best at 155, so I was expecting to face a ranked guy,” Moicano said. “But I know the division is too crowded. ... There is a lot of good people in the division and I don’t know if they want to fight me because I’m not ranked anymore and they can use that excuse. But everybody knows I’m a tough fight for them.

“So I think, off the top of my head, a guy whose not ranked, but is a really good guy, I thought about Anthony Pettis. I think it’s a good fight if he comes back to lightweight. I don’t know if he’s going to come back to lightweight, but I think he should do it. If he wants to, I’m ready to face him.”

When asked how he felt he matched up against Pettis, Moicano said he had a lot of respect for his desired opponent’s game. However, the 31-year-old said he still thought he would find a lot of success versus the American.

“He’s really good. He’s a former champion. I have all the respect for him because he was a good champion. He’s a good stand up guy, but I think I could do very well against him. He has a win against Cerrone, in a very close fight, so I think he has to fight somebody who is going to give him trouble and I think this guy will be me.”

Moicano’s win over Hadzovic came after two straight TKO losses at featherweight versus Chan Sung Jung and Jose Aldo. Prior to those losses Moicano was 5-1 in the UFC with wins over Zubaira Tukhugov, Jeremy Stephens, Cub Swanson and current top contender Calvin Kattar. Moicano’s first loss in the promotion (and his career) came to former title challenger Brian Ortega at UFC 214 in 2017.

Pettis has fluctuated between three divisions in his UFC tenure. He joined the UFC after ZUFFA bought out WEC (where Pettis was lightweight champion) and lost his promotional debut to Clay Guida back in 2011. He then won three in a row (over Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone) to set up a title fight with UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (the man he beat to lift the WEC belt).

Pettis beat Henderson by first round submission and then defended the belt versus Gilbert Melendez. He then lost his title to Rafael dos Anjos in 2015.

Since then Pettis has flirted with both the featherweight and welterweight divisions earning wins over Michael Chiesa and Stephen Tompson and taking losses to Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz. His last bout, against Donald Cerrone at UFC 249 in May, was at 170 lbs.