Injured Anthony Pettis on title situation: 'I'm stuck on the back of the bus again'

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Pettis was just looking to get in a quick workout.

Pettis, who was scheduled to challenge Jose Aldo Jr. for the UFC featherweight title in the main event of UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 3, was in Brazil fulfilling media obligations when he decided to roll with light heavyweight Phil Davis, who is also on the card.

"The last day of the press conference in Brazil, the UFC took us out there to do some press and media, to meet the local Brazilian press," Pettis said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Me and Phil Davis decided to do some rolling, before we went back on to the airplane, so we went down to my coach's gym."

Pettis was almost through the session when the knee injury which put him out of the fight occurred.

"I think it was the last round, the last five minutes, my knee got caught in a weird position, and I heard a pop," Pettis said. "I thought it was alright, I got on the plane, and it blew up on me. I had to get an MRI the next day and the UFC caught wind of it. It is what it is, man."

Such is life for the final WEC lightweight champion. The only man to own a Zuffa victory over current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was originally slated to meet the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at UFC 125, only to lose the shot when Edgar and Maynard fought to a draw and needed a rematch.

While Pettis waited for his day to arrive at 155, he decided to cut the line at featherweight, asking for and receiving the match with Aldo after Aldo's win over Edgar.

Understandably, Pettis is feeling a little snake-bit at the moment.

"I'm stuck on the back of the bus again in two weight classes," said Pettis. "I did everything under my power to make it happen, the UFC is looking out for what's best for my health, I can't knock them for looking out for my health.

"I can't believe it happened, man," Pettis continued. "I missed another title shot that slipped out of my fingers. I felt fine, I'm a couple weeks out from the fight, probably the best I've ever felt I felt invincible in training, I was so on point. For this to happen, it's unfortunate. I couldn't sleep the last couple days thinking about what was going to happen."

Pettis continued to make headlines over the weekend when he said he'd be ready and willing to fight Henderson on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee, which just so happens to be Pettis' hometown. But Henderson already has an opponent on that date, in T.J. Grant, and UFC president Dana White shot down the notion that Pettis will be handed Grant's shot.

"My doctor's exact words were, come Aug. 3, you're going to be sitting at home at 100 percent, and I'm like, ‘damn, I could have made this fight,'" said Pettis, who will fly to Las Vegas this week to be checked out by the UFC's doctors. "I mean, you know, I'm freaking out, I'm trying to figure out a way to fix this and looking at all possibilities, so you can't knock me for trying, you know? It's in my hometown.

"TJ Grant earned his shot I'm not going to say I should be fighting and T.J. Grant didn't earn his shot. T.J. Grant earned his shot an he's there for a reason, I don't want the fans to think I'm trying to take his position or anything like that, but at the same time, you can't knock me for trying. I want a title shot so bad."

In the meantime, all Pettis can do is sit back and wait for things to unfold, a position with which he's familiar. Pettis says he won't go down to featherweight unless it's for a title shot.

"The only person I want to fight at ‘45 is Jose Aldo," Pettis said. "The fans want to say what they want to say, he's faking an injury and all that. Man, I want that fight so bad, I was more excited than anybody for that fight. I felt I have what it takes to be Jose Aldo. That's the fight I want. I'm not going to drop the extra weight and do that to my body for a No. 1 contenders fight or anything like that."

And Pettis noted that Henderson, the man on the receiving end of his famous "Showtime kick," doesn't seem to be in a rush for a rematch.

"I'm the last guy to beat Ben Henderson, no matter what," he said. "My name never gets brought up out of his mouth for some reason. I'm not going to say he's ducking me, but for some reason, when it comes to fighting Pettis, he's all against it."

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