UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is in Brazil for a week of training, where he managed to find the time to talk to Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com regarding his coaching gig at TUF 20, his title defence against Gilbert Melendez at UFC 182, and the potential superfight between himself and Jose Aldo.
Pettis revealed his excitement to finally show casual fans his coaching ability, as well as his interest in coaching an all-female cast and helping them hone their craft.
“Now that I am on The Ultimate Fighter, I get to show how good I am at coaching.” Pettis said. “Nobody knows that I have been coaching my whole life. It is going to be all girls, so it is going to be interesting to see how they learn and what I need to teach them to win the fights.”
I think there is a big gap in skill level, so we’re going to have to find out how to bridge that gap and make these girls more competitive.”
Coaching opposite Pettis will be former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who is coming off a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate win over Diego Sanchez back at UFC 166. Prior to that, he had lost a title fight to then-champion Benson Henderson in his UFC debut.
While Pettis believes there are several close possibilities for title contenders, Melendez is the most “clear-cut” and deserving of the title shot.
” Gilbert Melendez is No. 2 in the division so it makes sense for him to get the title shot. There are other guys that are close, but he is probably the most clear cut title defence for me.”
Pettis revealed that his knee would be full healed by June, which is approximately the time that filming will begin for the show. While he would prefer to fight sooner, he is content a little extra recovery time.
“I will be 100 percent in June and we start filming in June. I don’t think I’ll need any more time to recover. I’m the champ. These guys need to challenge me for the belt and the more time I have to recover the better. I’m done with the injuries. I want to fight 2-3 times a year and defend this belt.”
“Showtime” continued to campaign for a superfight against featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, and stated that it would be the most exciting fight in either division.
“Now we are both champs and I think the fans want to see this fight. That is probably one of the most exciting fights at 145-155 lb. division. It sucks for the fans cause they want to see it.
It will happen eventually. I fight Melendez, he fights Mendes – we’ll finally fight.”
Pettis also revealed his continued interest in vying for the lightweight title, which he claims to be more a more prestigious title and competitive division.
“I think the 155lb. belt has more prestige. It is better than the 145lb. belt. There is way more competition at 155. I would say Jose Aldo is the biggest competition in both weight classes so it makes sense for him to move up. There is more money at 155 and we could sell a huge PPV.”
The champ also advocated for Aldo to get an immediate title shot if he chose to move up to lightweight.
” He has proven himself. I think everyone will agree that he is one of the best at 145-155lb., and being a champion fighting a champion is better than fighting a contender so I think it looks better for the UFC, and it makes a bit more sense for him and for me.”
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