By Jonathan Solomon
“Showtime” Anthony Pettis ran out of patience waiting for a title fight in the lightweight division and now will be dropping to featherweight for the first time.
The UFC confirmed to USA Today Tuesday morning that 145-pound champion Jose Aldo (22-1) will next defend his gold against Pettis (16-2) on August 3 at a yet to be announced venue on pay-per-view.
The former WEC champion was the biggest highlight of the UFC on Fox card last month when he defeated “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone by TKO courtesy of a liver kick. He called out lightweight champion Benson Henderson afterwards, a man he defeated more than two years ago before both entered the UFC. However, the company has already booked the champion’s next fight for April 20, the next Fox show, when he will fight former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez.
Pettis was given the opportunity to wait to fight the winner, pending the outcome and the champion’s health. It was reminiscent of his title shot entering 2011 (coming off his WEC title win over Henderson in December 2010), when he was thought to have been the number one contender. Then-champion Frankie Edgar fought Gray Maynard to a draw on New Year’s Day, causing a delay. Edgar defeated Maynard in October but by that time, Pettis had lost a decision to Clay Guida.
Now, with three consecutive UFC wins, Pettis decided he wanted to cut weight and fight at featherweight to go after one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best in Jose Aldo.
Aldo retained his championship Saturday with a decision victory against Frankie Edgar. Before UFC president Dana White talked about the top lightweight contender as an option, unless they were interested in giving Edgar a rematch, the options for the next featherweight title fight included “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas.
“I wouldn’t call him out if I didn’t really feel I could beat him,” Pettis told USA Today.
White told the news outlet they are looking at venues in Brazil, Las Vegas, Texas and Chicago to host the show.
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