So why is it taking so long to put the fight together?
Because lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is still sidelined with an injury from which he hasn’t yet been given a firm timetable for his return.
Following surgery in early December to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament, doctors told Pettis to expect to be out of action for six to eight months. He, of course, is shooting for the shorter end of that spectrum.
“The doctor said six to eight months, so I’m hoping six months,” Pettis told UFC Tonight shortly after the surgery, and a few weeks later reiterated that he was hopeful for the annual Fourth of July weekend fight card.
While his recovery is coming along “fabulously,” it appears that Pettis is not likely to fight on the UFC’s July 5 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.
An update on Pettis’ status came back from the UFC’s go-to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Sanders, on Thursday, which UFC president Dana White revealed to a small gathering of MMA journalists.
“Anthony Pettis successfully delivered twin screws from his right hand today,” White read from the report. “His knee is recovering fabulously, rehabbing great with no complications. Day 63 post-op on knee is looking good.”
Despite the progress, White wasn’t hopeful for the July 5 showdown with Aldo that Pettis has been targeting.
“No, I don't think so. It's gonna be later than that,” White answered when queried about Pettis being ready for the promotion’s summertime main event. “He's recovering really well and we'll see what happens.”
While Pettis is recovering, Aldo may take another fight at featherweight, although he has already confirmed that he would like to move up to lightweight and challenge for the belt.
If the title is off the table for the time being, White earlier this week told UFC Tonight that Aldo may take another bout at featherweight instead of holding out for Pettis’ return.