Anthony Pettis finally has the lightweight title shot he’s been craving against Ben Henderson at UFC 164 on August 31st in Milwaukee, but he has no intention of fighting ‘safe’ in order to ensure that he emerges with the belt around the waist.
In his eyes that’s what the current title holder Henderson is planning to do, and he wants no part of that.
“He’s going to come out, do just enough to win the rounds, and keep his belt,” Pettis says in a new interview with MMAjunkie.com “That’s his game plan, and that’s never my game plan. I’m always looking to finish.”
Henderson certainly has struggled to finish in the Octagon so far. In each of his seven fights so far he’s went to the judges scorecards, and against both Frankie Edgar in their second fight and in his last bout with Gilbert Melendez retained his title by the narrowest of split decisions.
It’s been an interesting transformation as Henderson was actually a ‘finisher’ prior to signing for the UFC, with only three of his thirteen pro-fights up until that point having gone to a decision. Whether that’s due to a conscious decision to fight ‘safe’ now that he’s under the bright lights of the Octagon, or simply a case of an increased level of competition in the UFC is open to debate.
On the other hand Pettis has managed to maintain his knack of finishing fights since signing for the UFC as proven by his last two fights in which he finished Joe Lauzon by head kick and Donald Cerrone by body kick.
However, it’s worth noting that in their first meeting at the last ever WEC event in December of 2011 Pettis wasn’t able to finish Henderson despite launching his now infamous ‘Showtime Kick’ at him in the final round. In fact the champion hasn’t been stopped in over seven years, so he’s got his work cut out for him if that’s his plan of action.