Kenny Florian: Anthony Pettis’ Bigger Name Won Him Immediate Title Shot
(MMAJunkie.com) Kenny Florian fought once at featherweight before getting a shot at champ Jose Aldo’s belt. But the retired fighter is not surprised that Anthony Pettis skipped that step.
“I understand very well that this is a business,” Florian told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “It does come down to the fights that make the most amount of sense.”
That distinction clearly goes to Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) vs. Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), which is expected to take place Aug. 9, as MMAjunkie.com recently reported.
Pettis becomes the second consecutive lightweight standout to drop weight and try his luck against the 145-pound champ. Former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar tried unsuccessfully to capture the belt earlier this month at UFC 156.
“I think that’s going to be a very exciting fight, and if we’re talking about two guys going at it with styles to entertain, Aldo and Pettis fit the bill,” Florian said.
Florian couldn’t get past Aldo at UFC 136 and decided to retire when doctors advised him he was risking his health by continuing to fight. Since then, the three-time title challenger and communications major has won a spot on the UFC’s broadcast team.
Along with Jon Anik, Florian will be calling the action inside the cage on Saturday at UFC on FUEL TV 7, which takes place at Wembley Arena in London.
Not everyone agrees with Florian’s opinion. Ricardo Lamas said he should be first to meet Aldo. However, Pettis texted UFC President Dana White and requested an immediate title shot following UFC on FOX 6, where he earned a highlight-reel TKO of Donald Cerrone. That allowed him to cut the line.
“I’ve put in the work at 145 pounds,” said Lamas, who brutally knocked out Erik Koch one fight prior to Pettis’ performance. “I’ve done everything I need to do, and I should be next in line for that shot.”
With four consecutive wins under his belt, Lamas certainly has more accolades at 145 pounds than Pettis or Florian. But Florian said Lamas doesn’t have the recognition to make him an easy sell to a pay-per-view audience.
“Sometimes divisions require divisions and certain contenders to step up,” he said. “In the 145-pound division, after Frankie Edgar, there are no real big names. Unfortunately for Ricardo Lamas, he doesn’t have the big name or the huge following that Anthony Pettis has, and that’s why Anthony Pettis is getting the next shot.”
While he staked his claim as No. 1 contender, Lamas (13-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) also said he would be willing to take another headlining fight prior to meeting Aldo. In recent days, he’s hinted at doing just that, though his opponent remains unknown.
Meanwhile, onetime featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has inked a UFC on FOX 7 bout with Clay Guida (30-13 MMA, 10-7 UFC), who hopes to make a run at Aldo’s belt.
The dance floor is getting crowded, but Lamas still has time to build his name.
Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2013 in Kenny's Blog.
Share your thoughts: use your existing Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo account.