It seems like Anthony Pettis already has plans to return to the lightweight division.
The former UFC lightweight champion moved up to the welterweight division in March to face Stephen Thompson in an unexpected main event clash in Nashville. While many disregarded Pettis’ chances against “Wonderboy,” the 32-year-old shocked fans with an incredible second-round knockout victory. The superman punch finish will likely be remembered as one of the very best knockouts of the year.
His performance that night earned him the #8 position in the UFC’s welterweight rankings, positioning him above rising contenders such as Santiago Ponzinibbio and Leon Edwards. Pettis also slid into the rankings at a higher spot than Robbie Lawler and Demian Maia, who have come crashing down in recent years.
Santiago Ponzinibbio was one who was knocked back by Pettis’ efforts on March 23 and he decided to challenge the former champion for his spot in the rankings, according to a recent story published on Instagram.
“Would you be interested in fighting Pettis,” asked one fan on Instagram (translated from Spanish).
“I already asked, but he will not accept. He will return to 155,” Ponzinibbio replied.
Ponzinibbio is currently enjoying a seven-fight winning streak in the UFC that has seen him earn victories against Neil Magny, Mike Perry and Gunnar Nelson in his last three fights. His fourth-round victory against Magny in November last year was the first time he had competed since December 2017.
The Argentine recently spoke with Michael Fiedel of The Body Lock and outlined his plans to fight Tyron Woodley or another top-five fighter so that he could earn his shot at Kamaru Usman.
“Maybe I need to fight a top-five guy and I think Tyron Woodley is a good option. It’s a good fight, good matchup. I know I can finish anyone in this division. I believe in my power, my work, I work very hard for a long time. I’m ready and excited to be back.”
However, Woodley has since been booked to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 3 and that leaves Santiago Ponzinibbio without a target in sight at welterweight.
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.