What’s next for Anthony Pettis? Waiting patiently for the lightweight title shot

Maggie Hendricks

With his performance against Donald Cerrone on Saturday night, Anthony Pettis made a believer out of many fight fans. One of those who now thinks Pettis belongs in the title shot conversation is UFC president Dana White.

While the next bout for UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson is set with Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez in April, Pettis has set himself up as the obvious next man up.

"I think the Melendez fight is pretty set, but (Pettis is) next. I can't say enough things about the kid tonight. That was incredible," White said in the postfight press conference.

The last time Pettis had a title shot, he had a wrench thrown into the plans. Pettis won the WEC lightweight belt in the promotion's final fight. A title shot was promised to whoever had the belt when the WEC merged with the UFC.

But two weeks after Pettis won the belt, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard faced off for the belt. They fought to a draw and Edgar kept the belt, but Maynard was given an immediate rematch.

Instead of waiting for the title shot then, Pettis fought Clay Guida. He lost a decision, and the title shot was gone. This time, he's not going to let the title shot slip through his hands.

"If it's a guaranteed title shot, then I'm waiting. That was my goal this year, and I'm definitely going to wait and get better," Pettis said.

The way title shots have been going in the UFC, there's no way to know if Pettis is making the right call. However, what Pettis is doing is setting himself up as the go-to guy if the UFC needs him. Melendez has had to postpone fights because of injuries in the past, and you never know what could happen as fighters prepare for their bouts.

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