MMA Quick Hits 2/6/13: Pettis discusses why he’s fighting Aldo, Barnett turns down UFC offer
Anthony Pettis was on Fuel TV’s “UFC Tonight” and discussed why he chose to drop down to featherweight and take on the champion, Jose Aldo, instead of waiting for the winner between Ben Henderson and Gilbert Melendez. “To me, Aldo is a tougher fight – that’s why I asked for it. He’s one of those guys who has gone through his opponents like crazy and he just beat the last 155-pound champ. Aldo is definitely a tougher challenge for me. I’ve beaten Benson Henderson once and I think I’m going to be doing it again soon, but right now Aldo is the guy on my radar…The biggest thing is where he’s good at. He’s good where I’m good. He likes to stand and trade and bang, and I feel like I’m a little more well-rounded and I can offer him a big challenge…I have to cross those bridges when I get there, but my goal is to become the 155-pound champ.” Aldo may yet prove a tougher test, but this fight makes no sense to me. Especially since his next fight would be for the 155lb title. It could make sense if the fight was taking place in April or May, then he could rest up and fight the winner between Melendez/Henderson. But to have it pushed back this far makes zero sense. Now the UFC will have to find another challenger for the Lightweight Title in the interim.
It looks like Josh Barnett may not be joining the UFC ranks just yet. His manager, Leland LeBarre, told MMAFighting.com that negotiations have fallen through. “We agreed on guaranteed compensation. In fact, we never even countered. We accepted their original offer. However, there are some outlying issues — one in particular — that as of this point we were unable to agree on.” Labarre said he didn’t feel it was appropriate at this time to discuss which issue both sides couldn’t come to terms on. Well, I wouldn’t say he’s never going to be in the UFC just yet. They were close, and only some back-end stuff needed to round itself out. I’m sure they’ll be another round of talks. If they don’t come to a deal then, then I’ll say he’s not going to be competiting int he Octagon. Or, if he signs a deal elsewhere. So you Barnett fans, don’t panic just yet.
Vinny Magalhaes told BloodyElbow.com that his next opponent, Phil Davis, is a joke on the ground. “It’s gonna be a win for me. What is he gonna do? Out-wrestle me? That’s all he can do. His striking is horrible. His ground game is horrible. All the guys he’s submitted don’t have any ground game, so I don’t know why he thinks that he can submit me. I don’t know what’s in his mind. Maybe all those ranking numbers he was talking about makes him feel good, but they’re the reason why I called him out, and not anybody else [laughs]. In my opinion, skill-wise, Phil Davis should not even be a Top 10 fighter. There are many guys in the UFC that are way more well rounded than him, but the only thing he has going for him, that’s really high level, is his wrestling, which I respect…Phil thinks he’s a good grappler, but as an expert, I feel I can comment on this, and he’s not a good grappler by any means. It’s not even like he’s decent. He’s not good at all. He’s below average when it comes to ground game. For him to think that he’s just gonna take me down and hold me down is going to be a huge mistake. I know I’m gonna submit him once it hits the ground. He can say whatever he wants, but there’s a reason why I asked for this fight, and it’s because I know I will beat him and it will put me up high in the rankings, and that’s all I care about.” I wouldn’t say Davis is below decent level, but then again, I’m a writer and Vinny is the expert. Take that for what it’s worth. But I’m really hyped up for this fight.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com, Ricardo Lamas said he was shocked that he’s not getting a title shot against Jose Aldo. “I’m just a little dumbfounded by the whole situation. I thought I already established I was the no. 1 contender. If Koch would have beaten me none of this would have happened…I don’t know why they pushed it [Aldo vs Pettis] back so far. I don’t really know what to say. If guys are dropping weight classes, they should earn their spot.” I’m right here with Lamas. He should have that shot, and if he doesn’t Pettis should have to win a fight at 145 first. The only way I say Pettis wouldn’t have to win a fight first is if he was the Lightweight Champion and he was dropping for a Champion vs Champion fight. Otherwise, it just screws over the guys putting in the time.
Rumors were circulating that Vitor Belfort failed a steroid test at UFC on FX 7, where he defeated Michael Bisping. However, Dana White said emphatically over the weekend, it was not Belfort. Now, Tatame.com is reporting that it was lightweight Thiago Tavares, and he has been suspended for 9 months. But, according to a report from MMAJunkie.com, Belfort was on testosterone replacement therapy for his bout against Michael Bisping, and the UFC and the new Brazilian commission put in place granted him a therapeutic use exemption. He was not over the limit and he didn’t fail any test from last month’s event, according to a statement from Zuffa. “To dispel rumors that have been circulated, Zuffa wishes to clarify that Vitor Belfort’s drug test results were negative and did not indicate the presence of any performance enhancing drugs.” I knew Belfort was on something and now I know. He’s always jacked, but he was especially hulked up at UFC on FX 7. While still coming in under the legal limit, I really don’t like this TRT usage in MMA. To me it’s basically cheating with a pass.