UFC legend Anthony “Showtime” Pettis seemed like he might be on his way out of the UFC if he came away with a loss on Saturday night’s card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. But after winning his fight against Alex Morono, the 33-year-old might on his way to securing a megafight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor sometime next year.
At least, he’s closer to that stunning move than he’s been for awhile. Pettis announced after his big win over Morono that he would be moving back to the UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division.
“Honestly I’m going back to [lightweight],” Pettis said after the win. “My goal is at 155. Before I’m all said and done, I want to go back and get that belt.”
That’s where McGregor also campaigns, and it’s one of the deepest divisions in the sport.
With Pettis planning his move back down, it just got a whole lot deeper, too.
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‘Showtime’ Is Free-Agent
Pettis is technically a free-agent now.
While Pettis became a free-agent after the win due to his fight against Morono being the last one left on his current UFC contract, the former UFC lightweight champion has given no indication he wishes to leave the company.
Moreover, Pettis is on a two-fight win streak. In addition to beating Morono, “Showtime” also scored a decision victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 245 back in May.
Pettis looked sharp against Morono on Saturday night in the featured prelims bout for the last UFC Fight Night card of 2020.
While Morono got the ex-UFC champ down to the ground to start the fight, the veteran survived that onslaught to come back strong over the next two rounds.
By the end of the third round, Pettis was clearly in charge of the action.
— UFC (@ufc) December 20, 2020
Now Pettis will hope to make his way toward a world title shot.
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UFC’s 155-Pound Division Is Loaded
The current UFC lightweight champion is Khabib Nurmagomedov.
However, the Russian dynamo hasn’t told anyone he’s coming back for another fight after retiring earlier this year, so some believe the rest of the top contenders in the division are already in a de facto UFC tournament to crown the next lightweight champ.
If that’s the case, it would have started with Charles Oliveira defeating Tony Ferguson earlier this month in the co-main event of UFC 256.
The next big fight at 155 will be McGregor’s rematch against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier in the main event of UFC 257 next month.
And that’s no gimme fight. Both McGregor and Poirier are two of the best fighters in the world today.
With Pettis moving down now to 155, the ex-champ will hope to be in line for a big fight there, too.
Lucky for the popular American action fighter, there are plenty of top-flight contenders in need of big fights.
Most notably, former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has yet to fight in the UFC after signing with the company in 2020.
Additionally, the division includes fan faves Tony Ferguson, Dan Hooker, Rafael dos Anjos and more.
Pettis has already fought many of the top contenders at 155, so rematches could be due now that he reenters the division.
Or maybe Pettis finds himself as the next lightweight on McGregor’s list next year.
McGregor vs. Pettis Almost Happened Last Year
The fight already almost happened.
The two stalwarts were supposed to fight each other back in 2019 before Pettis instead found himself staring across the cage from Nate Diaz at UFC 241.
“First it was McGregor, and I was like, ‘Let’s do it in Madison Square Garden,’” Pettis said per MMA Junkie. “Something fell off with that and then it popped up Nate, and I was just like we’ll see what happens. And we signed that contract, and we’re here.”
Whatever the case, there figures to be a lot of interesting matchups in the division coming up, and since both Pettis and McGregor have aspirations of capturing UFC gold in the same weight class, a showdown between the two might finally take place.
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