Time away from the UFC Octagon can often lead to excessive nerves and timidity (see Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub in June). Other times, it can lead to a bunch of expertly-released pent up aggression (like Dominick Cruz’s violent return the other week).
Returning UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis assures fans he’ll be in the latter category. On Dec. 6, “Showtime” will defend his title for the first time since winning it in Aug. 2013 with a first round submission over Benson Henderson.
Pettis recently told Brazilian outlet Globo that he expects to run through challenger Gilbert Melendez just as quick, when they fight in Vegas in two months. “Fans can expect that I will finish this fight in the first round. I’ve been away for a year and I am thrilled to return,” he said.
“I’m healthy, ready to fight and, unfortunately, the Melendez is my first opponent in return. I say ‘unfortunately’ because this fight will not go past the first round. My camp is going very well, I still have about ten weeks to the fight and my biggest concern is to keep me healthy and back with everything.”
Pettis is no doubt eager to get back to kicking after his long injury-induced time away from competition. He is also specifically motivated to “shut up” his critics who have said he’s spent too much time away from the cage.
“I have many people to shut up,” he said.
Do you think Pettis can stop the durable Melendez inside a single round, as he promises? Let us know in the comments section!