Anthony Pettis: Jose Aldo Is a Tougher Fight Than Benson Henderson

Damon MartinContributor IFebruary 6, 2013

Anthony Pettis has made it clear that he not only wants the biggest challenges, but he's willing to move weight classes to prove he belongs in the discussion for best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.

The former WEC champion was poised to take on the winner of the UFC on Fox 7 main event between Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez when out of nowhere, he decided to challenge featherweight champion Jose Aldo following the conclusion of UFC 156 last Saturday night.

Now Pettis will move down to 145 pounds to face one of the sport's very best in Aldo, and in his opinion, a more imposing fight than facing the current UFC lightweight champion.

“To me, Aldo is a tougher fight—that’s why I asked for it," Pettis stated during Tuesday night's edition of UFC Tonight. "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.”

Pettis isn't wrong about facing and defeating Henderson previously because the two met in the final WEC fight ever in late 2010.  Pettis won the closely contested fight after five rounds where he also uncorked his now famous "Showtime kick" where he launched off the cage wall and blasted his opponent in the face with the front side of his foot.

The highlight made television shows everywhere and remains one of the most exciting moments in MMA history.

Pettis has already mentioned that he hopes to face Aldo in August and then move forward with facing either Henderson or Melendez for the lightweight title later this year.

“I have to cross those bridges when I get there, but my goal is to become the 155-pound champ," said Pettis.

Pettis faces Aldo at what is currently called UFC 163 on August 3, although that number for the event could change depending on timing and other events the UFC schedules between now and then.

If Pettis is successful in his bid to defeat Aldo, and Henderson slips past Melendez in April, it could set the stage for a huge rematch in the UFC lightweight division.

The question remains did Anthony Pettis get it right—is Jose Aldo the tougher challenge than Benson Henderson?