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Dana White thinks Anthony Pettis is 'the pound-for-pound best' fighter in the world

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Earlier this year, it was Renan Barao. Then it was Jon Jones. At some point, it was probably Jose Aldo, too.

But UFC president Dana White has changed his mind again on who the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is. He believes it to be Anthony Pettis, who just so happens to be defending his lightweight title against Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event of UFC 181 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

In fairness to White, he did preface his statement in an interview Friday with Jim Rome. At least the first time he said it.

"Honestly, I think Pettis is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, if the kid could stay healthy," White said. "This kid is able to do things to people that other people can't do. The famous run-off-the-cage kick. He bounces off the cage and hits people with knees."

White went on to put over Pettis' superior kicking ability and, well, he might have a point about that.

"He's so powerful with his kicks that once he kicks you, he hurts you immediately," White said. "Human beings can't take the kicks to the body that this kid throws."

Sure. But the assertion that Pettis, who has not fought in 16 months, is tops on the planet is flawed. He's ranked No. 6 on the UFC's official pound-for-pound list, which is voted on by media. Jones and Aldo both could make much more compelling cases, especially Jones. Then there are guys like Demetrious Johnson and Cain Velasquez. Chris Weidman has two wins over Anderson Silva.

To White, though, Pettis is the man. And not just because he's gracing the cover of a Wheaties box.

"I believe that kid is the pound-for-pound best," White said. "He is an incredible athlete and has this style that's incredibly hard to defend against."

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