UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis has been out of action for almost a year now due to a knee injury he suffered during his title win against Benson Henderson last August. During an interview this week with The MMA Hour, Pettis explained how the injury occured:
“It was just one kick he threw, an inside kick he was aiming to the shin, I didn’t check it right, it was the right amount of impact, and the right angle .. it’s weird to me. I’m not going to go in and change anything up, if I change anything up maybe I won’t have the right performance.”
He’s gotten a lot of criticism from the media and other fighters (including Henderson) himself for not defending his title in a year, which he admits bothers him.
“It does get under my skin at times. Except when Ben Henderson is the one doing it, because I beat him twice. That’s what was supposed to happen. The UFC’s job is to make challengers, not champions. If the champion is dominant, everybody is watching him because they want to see him lose it at some point. Its interesting how the whole thing works. I can’t sit back and chuckle it off.”
Pettis, who is currently filming The Ultimate Fighter Season 20, just found out his first title defense with be against rival TUF20 coach Gilbert ‘El Nino’ Melendez later this year.
“That’s what they told me, I just found it will be Dec. 6.”
UFC has yet to officially announce the fight, which would take place at UFC 181 from Las Vegas. Pettis said that if he wasn’t involved in TUF 20, he’d already be training for his first title defense.
“I gave the injury the right amount of time off, and I’m ready to be back in the Octagon. The TUF thing I something I couldn’t say no to. It’s one of those things that, it boosts my star power, I use it as the opportunity to train at other places.”