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29th Nov 2016

You have to admire Anthony Pettis’ honesty about the UFC’s interim featherweight belt

No bullshit from Showtime

Patrick McCarry

Straight down the middle from Anthony Pettis.

Showtime has been elevated to main event status for UFC 206 and his fight against Max Holloway is now for the interim featherweight title. Jose Aldo, meanwhile, is the new featherweight champion. Conor McGregor is just the lightweight champ now but he hasn’t flinched.

All of this has occurred due to the unfortunate leg injury sustained by light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and his postponed title defence against Anthony Johnson. McGregor, who is not due to return to the Octagon until mid 2017, may have always lost his belt but Cormier’s injury upped the tempo and the decision was made.

The UFC’s decision to make Pettis vs. Holloway for an interim strap has raised eyebrows but the Milwaukee fighter had a frank, sanguine take on matters. On Monday’s MMA Hour, he said:

“The interim champ isn’t the real champ. It’s an interim title.

“I get a belt – another belt to add to my fireplace – but until I defend that belt against a Jose Aldo or whoever the UFC decides to make champion… I’m not even reading into that, I’m not looking into it. Max Holloway is the only thing on my radar right now.

“Whoever is the guy I have to beat [after Holloway] to become the official champ, then that’s what I got to do.”

It is heartening to see Pettis is not getting ahead of himself. He is aware that Conor McGregor will be looked upon as the rightful champion until he, or one of the other top featherweights, does something about it.

December 10 should provide plenty of sparks.