His most recent fight came together because Melvin Guillard called him out, and now the same has happened with Anthony Pettis. Following his win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136, Pettis told Cage Fanatic (via MMA Mania) that he wants J-Lau next.
“I don’t know who my next opponent is but I’m going for that title shot, that title shot run, so anybody who’s a top five guy, I’m ready for them. Joe Lauzon beat Melvin Guillard, I think that would be a great fight for me.”
And like he did with Guillard’s challenge, Lauzon says he’ll gladly fight Anthony Pettis if that’s what the UFC wants.
“I think it would be an exciting fight,” Lauzon told the Herald today. “It doesn’t matter to me who I fight. Whoever the UFC says they want me to fight, I’ll fight. If they want it to be Anthony Pettis, I’ll fight Pettis. It doesn’t really matter to me that much. I’m up for whoever.”
“I must have (ticked) off someone,” Lauzon said. “I’m not sure why people are calling me out, but I’m fine with it. I have to be doing something right if everybody wants to fight me. I definitely don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s awesome getting called out by guys like that, that are doing really well.”
The UFC hasn’t commented thus far, but if fight comes together, Lauzon can expect to see more from Pettis than crazy kicks and flashy striking. Now that he’s had a taste of the higher level of competition in the UFC, Pettis believes he needs to adjust his style if he wants to make his way back to a UFC title shot.
“You look at the UFC lightweight division, the top guys are all wrestlers,” Pettis said. “Me being a striker, I don’t fit into that picture. I need to adjust my game to fit in with the top-level guys in the UFC. By no means am I only going to hold people down and try to win fights. I’m still going for my bread-and-butter, which is knockouts, but fighting a guy like Jeremy Stephens, you don’t want to stay in the pocket with that guy too long.”
“I think I’m going to have to just find out how to make them work at this level,” Pettis said of his flashier moves. “It’s easy to do it when you’re fighting guys who aren’t as good at striking as you or don’t pose a threat and you can do whatever you want, but now that these guys [have] good boxing and good kicking and good defense, you’ll still see it, but it’s going to be limited. I have to be careful. I have to win fights. If I want to be a champ, I need to win fights.”
As Melvin Guillard learned, calling out Joe Lauzon might not be the smartest career move, but it also provides a good barometer to see where you stand in the lightweight division. If Pettis can’t beat Lauzon, then he probably shouldn’t be fighting the Frankie Edgar’s and Gray Maynard’s of the world yet anyways.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog