Former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is still waiting on word about his next fight, but he’s still holding out hope it will be against Nate Diaz.
Pettis will return to action most likely in September after shoulder surgery put him on the sidelines for a few months, but he’s healthy and looking to target the top of the lightweight division.
Since a title shot will allude him once again, Pettis’ hope is to land a fight with Diaz, fresh off his win over Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3.
Currently, Diaz has stated he will sit and wait for the winner of the bout between champion Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 in Denver, but Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts of MMA Inc. isn’t sold on the Stockton, Calif. sitting and waiting for the better part of 9 or 10 months.
“We all know that everybody can change their minds, I believe that’s the fight that makes the most sense,” Roberts told MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday. “I can’t imagine Nate Diaz would want to sit out as long as he’s going to have to, to fight, just to wait to fight.
“I think Nate Diaz is a fighter before a guy that wants to be a champion. Waiting is his choice and his prerogative. I can’t see him wanting to wait.”
Pettis and his manager both want to make something crystal clear however. They aren’t calling for a fight with Nate Diaz to make some kind of personal beef. It’s all about getting a lightweight title shot, and if Pettis can’t get Benson Henderson, then he wants the next guy standing in the way.
That just so happens to be Nate Diaz.
“It’s not that Anthony wants to fight Nate Diaz for any other reason than Dana saying he’s the No. 1 contender. If we can’t get the guy with the title, that’s the next guy in line. So it’s definitely not a personal thing with Nate,” Roberts stated.
“It’s that Nate’s next in line and Anthony feels he should be the No. 1 contender.”
While the preference for Pettis’ return fight to the Octagon would be Nate Diaz, his management team won’t cry over spilled milk if they don’t get it. They’ll just move on to the next challenge with a hope that a lightweight title shot will soon be offered to the last fighter to defeat current champion Benson Henderson.
“At the end of the day if it’s not Nate Diaz, we’ll take whoever’s next who’s available to fight,” said Roberts.
Pettis is getting back into full training mode currently and expects to land on a card coming up in September, although no date for his return has been confirmed yet.