It’s mostly been confirmed that the last WEC Lightweight Champion will have to wait for his unification bout against the UFC Lightweight Champion. But Anthony Pettis isn’t the kind of man that sits on the sidelines. While Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard fight for a third time in order to finally find out which one of them is the better fighter, Pettis will look to prove himself in the UFC with or without a title being on the line. But who should “Showtime” face in his first Octagon bout? Here are my personal Top 5 opponents for Anthony Pettis.
I think this would be a great fight in all areas of the MMA game. If it goes to the ground we’ll probably see so many transitions and sweeps and counters that our heads may start spinning. If it stays standing, both men swing with authority and precision, so it has all the elements of a great brawl. Cerrone is on a two-fight win-streak and really wants to prove his relevance in the crowded Lightweight scene, while Anthony Pettis could use a good victory over a former WEC main star in order to really set the stage for his unification bout. So long as both men show up at their physical and mental best, this fight could easily approach “Fight of the Year” quality.
This fight would once and for all prove whether or not Kenny Florian chokes in big fights. At one time I thought that Kenny Florian would be a dominant UFC Lightweight Champion if BJ Penn simply didn’t exist. Of course I was wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that Florian remains one of the biggest, most consistent threats that any UFC Lightweight could ever face. If Kenny Florian is a gatekeeper, he’s the MMA equivalent of Cerberus. Not only would this be an amazing fight, it would also be a huge proving point for both fighters.
3. Jim Miller
It appears as if Jim Miller just can’t catch a break. He’s only lost to Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard, he’s won his last six fights, and yet he still gets mostly middle-of-the-road competition. Miller’s intensity has really been amping up lately, since he thinks a lot of people don’t take him seriously, and against Pettis he’d likely be at his best. It would be a very dynamic, fast-paced fight, even for Anthony Pettis. And that’s definitely a fight I’d like to see.
Before the legendary “Showtime Kick” rocked Ben Henderson and shook the MMA world, “Bendo” was having a classic and ultra-close encounter with Pettis that just has to see a second chapter. Will history repeat itself? Would Pettis be able to land another insane kick? Would either one manage to finally lock in the submissions they constantly hunted for throughout their five-round war of attrition? All these questions would likely be answered it what would surely be an amazing second encounter.
But my number-one opponent for Anthony Pettis just had to be…
There seems to be no stopping Sotiropoulos, but then again, there seems to be no stopping Anthony Pettis. Sotiropoulos continues to improve by leaps and bounds every single time he competes, but once again, so does Anthony Pettis. I think this fight would prove once and for all who the can’t-miss prospect of the Lightweight division truly is. I don’t think any fight will ever fully measure up to what should have been the WEC/UFC Championship Unification bout, but this fight definitely comes closest.
And what about you, fans and friends? Who do you think Pettis should face when he makes his UFC debut?