Morning Report: Anthony Pettis Expecting November Return, Says Donald Cerrone Fight 'Is Happening'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's no secret Donald Cerrone is hankering for a fight against former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. "Cowboy" ripped Pettis for hiding behind his shoulder injury earlier this month, and followed-up by calling out "Showtime" during the UFC 150 post-fight press conference.

At the time UFC President Dana White seemed receptive to the idea. Now, after twiddling our collective thumbs for a few weeks of match-up limbo, Pettis finally answered Cerrone's challenge.

"Oh, it is happening," Pettis declared on UFC Tonight. "He is talking too much mess for it not to happen."

Pettis has been sidelined since his February ‘Knockout of the Year' candidate over Joe Lauzon, and after undergoing shoulder surgery he expects to return to the cage by early November. When that happens, he has just one message for "Cowboy."

"Be ready. I am coming for that title. You're the only guy standing in my way and I'm coming for it."

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4 MUST-READ STORIES

Pettis sets return timetable, wants Cerrone. Former WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis said he expects to be ready to return from injury by early November, and when he does, "Showtime" wants Donald Cerrone.

Weidman told to reject Belfort fight. Speaking with UFC Tonight, Chris Weidman revealed he was told by UFC officials to turn down a potential fight with Vitor Belfort in the hopes of securing a match-up against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Silva later announced he would sit out the rest of 2012.

McKenzie calls out Edgar. Straight from the files of "it's worth a try," TUF 12 alumnus Cody McKenzie took to Twitter to call out former UFC lightweight champ and recent featherweight addition Frankie Edgar. McKenzie, who hails from Washington, asked to fight Edgar on the UFC's December 8th Seattle card.

Ortiz opens management firm. Recently retired Tito Ortiz is now in the management game. The UFC Hall of Famer started Primetime 360 Entertainment & Sports Management with his longtime business partner George Prajin, inking former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cris Cyborg as one of the firm's first clients.

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MEDIA STEW

After watching Forrest Griffin and Dan Henderson commentate cageside at Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, it's somewhat comical to see their spirits deflate with every round of Jones dominance.

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Feel like hating humanity for a second? Three women in Dover were arrested for coercing 3-year-old boys in their daycare to fight and then filming it. Yes, you read that right. Now, we don't know exactly what was going there, but this seems like a pretty accurate recreation.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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We've featured Michael Page in this space before, and say what you want about the man's cockiness, but by god is he entertaining. So just trust me when I say you should watch his latest fight against Jefferson George.

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Lee "Lightning" Murray is a man of many talents. In 2004, he debuted in the UFC with a first-round armbar victory over Jorge Rivera. And in 2006, he masterminded a £53 million armed raid of the Securitas Depot, aka, the largest cash robbery in British history. So if you feel like slacking off today, here's a fascinating documentary on Murray's exploits.

(HT: The UG)

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SWAPPING GEAR

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KEEPING IT REAL

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DOUBTFUL, BUT ANYTHING'S WORTH A SHOT

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VITOR BELFORT: USING SOCIAL MEDIA THE RIGHT WAY SINCE 2012

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, August 22, 2012):

- UFC on Fox 5: Ramsey Nijem (6-2) vs. Joe Proctor (8-1)

- UFC on FX 5: Louis Gaudinot (6-2) out, Phil Harris (21-9-1) against Darren Uyenoyama (7-3)

- UFC on Fuel 6: Riki Fukuda (18-6) vs. Tom DeBlass (7-1)

- Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy: Guto Inocente (6-0) vs. Gian Villante (10-3)

- Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy: Mike Kyle (19-8-1) vs. Dion Staring (28-7)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Sklart rewrite history right behind Zuffa's back: Presenting the Inaugural class of the MMA Hall of Fame

There is a lot of talk about the UFC Hall of Fame, and whether or not it has validity of being a true Hall of Fame. Critics have a point: Some of the best MMA fighters of all time never fought in the UFC, so how can that be called a real HOF? That being said, here is the who I think would belong in the first ever class of the MMA Hall of Fame

(Note: Just like other Hall of Fame's, the fighter must be retired from active MMA)

1. Fedor Emelianenko (34-4-1)

Titles held: Pride HW champion (1 time and last champion), 2004 Pride HW Grand Prix champion, RINGS Openweight Championship (1 time, last champion), RINGS 2001 Absolute class champion, RINGS 2001 Openweight champion, WAMMA HW champion (first and last)

Notable wins: Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers, Mark Hunt, Big Nog, Cro Cop, Kevin Randleman,Mark Coleman, Kaz Fujita, Heath Herring, Semmy Schilt, Babalu Sobral, Hong Man Choi

Notable losses: Bigfoot Silva, Fabrico Werdum, Dan Henderson

Not much has to be said about "The Last Emperor". For a decade, Fedor reigned supreme over the HW division. While critics say he can't be the greatest of all time as he never fought in the UFC, Fedor knocked off multiple UFC champions and 12 top ten opponents in his career. As an undersized HW, Fedor finally fell from grace with 3 straight losses before picking up 3 wins on the independent circuit before finally calling it quits. Fedor is a first ballot hall of famer.

2. Chuck Liddell (21-8)

Titles held: UFC LHW Champion (1 time, 4 title defences)

Notable wins: Jose Landi-Jons, Jeff Monson, Kevin Randleman, Guy Metzger, Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Babalu Sobral, Alistar Overeem, Tito Ortiz, Vernon White, Randy Couture, Wanderlai Silva.

Notable losses: Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin, Randy Couture, Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua.

The godfather of the sprawl and brawl, "The Iceman" remains one of the most dominant LHW's in MMA history. Liddell still holds the UFC record for wins at LHW (16) and went on two separate 7 fight win streaks in his career. Liddell had a rock solid chin for most of his career, and always put on an exciting fight. For those who haven't seen him fight Pele in Brazil, that fight is a must watch.

3. Randy Couture (19-11)

Titles held: UFC HW Champion (3 times), UFC LHW Champion (2 times), UFC 13 HW tournament winner.

Notable wins: Vitor Belfort, Maurice Smith, Jeremy Horn, Kevin Randleman, Pedro Rizzo, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia, Gabriel Gonzaga, James Toney.

Notable losses: Enson Inoue, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Vitor Belfort, Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar,Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

"The Natural", "Capitan America", whatever you want to call him one thing is for certain: Randy was the original gangster of MMA. Titles in two different divisions, not to mention being the oldest guy ever to win a UFC title, it's hard not to respect Randy Couture. To put into perspective how good Randy was, he was voted the Most Valuable MMA fighter in 2007...at the age of 43.

More after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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