MANILA, Philippines – Former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is moving down one division to challenge UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr. for the title.
Pettis had become one of the top contenders in the UFC lightweight division after putting together a three-fight winning streak that included knockout victories over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
Aldo, meanwhile, is coming off a successful title defense against former lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar at UFC 156 last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Following the event, UFC president Dana White revealed that Pettis had offered to move to featherweight and challenge Aldo.
“Anthony Pettis... just texted me 10 minutes ago. He said I wanna move to 145 (pounds) and fight Jose Aldo,” White said in the post-UFC 156 press conference.
White gave Pettis his wish, pitting the former champion against Aldo on August 3 at a yet to be determined venue.
“Two of the baddest dudes in the fight business are going to fight at 145-pounds,” White said in a MMA Junkie report. “These guys are two of the most amazing, gravity-defying athletes in the sport. I am so pumped for this fight.”
In the same report, Pettis said: “Aldo is a tremendous fighter. I have all the respect in the world for his skills. I just want to be one of the best in the world, and the only way to do that is to beat the best.”
“I wouldn’t call him out if I didn’t really feel confident I could beat him,” Pettis added.
Aldo, for his part, said the Pettis fight was “interesting.”
“I train to fight the best. I respect them all. I think that Pettis is almost there at the title shot in his own division, but it will be an interesting fight,” Aldo said.