Since defeating Henderson in the final WEC fight to close out 2010, Pettis has been waiting for a shot at the belt, only to have delays, rematches and now other opponents step in the way of him receiving his long awaited crack at the title.
Now just days away from his fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago, Pettis is done waiting around for the title shot to be given to him. He's ready to take what's his and it starts with his next fight.
“Me and Duke (Roufus) just had this discussion last night. You hear all the stories and I have friends texting me that Eddie Alvarez is going to get a title shot, or (Gilbert Melendez) is going to get a title shot. I mean, I'm to the point where I've just got to prove it,” Pettis told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“Line them up and I'm going to knock them down until I get that title shot. That's the ultimate goal, but right now it's winning fights. I need to focus on this next opponent in front of me and win these fights until they can't deny me the shot.”
Pettis was supposed to get a shot at the UFC lightweight title when he first got to the promotion after having beat Henderson in the WEC, but when Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fought to a draw, their rematch pushed him back in line.
The former WEC champion then lost a close decision to Clay Guida before he reeled off two more wins, including a head kick knockout of Joe Lauzon at UFC 144. The stage seemed set for Pettis to then get his crack at the title after Benson Henderson won the belt on that same card, putting the two together for what most thought was an inevitable rematch.
Unfortunately, the UFC decided to give former champion Frankie Edgar an immediate rematch so again Pettis went on the shelf awaiting his chance to fight for the belt.
Now Pettis will face Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6 while Henderson gears up to face Melendez three months from now at UFC on Fox 7, and again the former champion waits on the sidelines for the title shot.
The heart of the problem according to Pettis isn't that a more worthy contender is getting the shot. He believes the two fighters that have faced the toughest competition over the last couple of years are fighting at UFC on Fox 6.
“If you look at all the guys you mentioned and the competition they're fighting, me and Cowboy are the guys that have been fighting the hardest competition. I mean, we're in the UFC with the best of the best; we're in the trenches,” said Pettis.
“You've got the two best guys in the UFC. I feel like me and Cowboy are right at the top, and the winner of this fight should be next in line for a title shot.”
Traditionally, Pettis has let his fighting style speak for itself and he leaves trash talk and demands to other fighters. Now he's ready to tell the world that it's his time and the title shot should be his, but he'll gladly back it up with his performance at UFC on Fox 6.
“No more Mr. Nice Guy. I sat there and tried to play that role, ‘oh the title shot's going to come I'm going to sit and wait for it.' I'm taking it this time. I'm going for it. I'm going to take this title shot,” Pettis stated.
“I'm going to get my title shot; I'm going to get the respect I deserve.”