Anthony Pettis wants to get his hands on the UFC’s lightweight belt once again, but that doesn’t mean he would pass on an opportunity to scrap his rival, Nate Diaz in the interim.
The former champ has yet to be booked for his next fight, after he was decisioned by Rafael dos Anjos in March. Pettis is the division’s #1 contender, and ordinarily, this would mean he’ll fight another top ranked 155ér next. But, Pettis and Diaz have been exchanging verbal jabs for some time now, and since both men are high profile fighters, it’s a fight that could move some tickets.
So what is “Showtime” thinking? Is he looking to scrap a top five ranked fighter? Is he still interested in facing Diaz? Who is currently sitting in the #14 position at 155?
“I don’t really care,” Pettis said. “As long as it gets me that next title shot. If Khabib’s [Nurmagomedov] healthy and he’s next in line, that’s who I want. Or Nate Diaz. I’ve been calling him out, as well. Diaz has been talking a lot of s**t.”
“It doesn’t make sense for me but the fact that it’s personal is why I want that fight,” said Pettis, who also referred to the veteran fighter as “irrelevant”. “I want to whoop his ass. That’s it.”
Even if you’re a big Diaz fan, Pettis is right in that the bout doesn’t make much sense. The latter has very little to gain, and everything to lose by fighting Diaz, since he’s not a top ten ranked fighter. If he could defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov, the it would be pretty hard to deny Pettis of a title shot, regardless of who wins RDA-Donald Cerrone II.
So, ultimately, this could come down to timing. If Nurmagomedov is ready to go this fall, the then a fight with Pettis is likely. If he incurs another setback with his knee, then, one would think the UFC would look at Diaz-Pettis.
Diaz, meanwhile, hasn’t fought now since December, when he was decisioned by RDA as well. The 30 year-old is 2-3 in his last 5 bouts.