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In what we can file under “comming fucking sense” news, Anthony Pettis will not be waiting for Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard to settle things before stepping foot inside the UFC Octagon to wage war with another human.

According to Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts, “Anthony was obviously disappointed in not getting the title shot but he also understands why Dana made that decision.” Roberts further explained that after speaking with both Pettis and his coach, Duke Roufus, it was decided that the lightweight contender would take a fight against another top contender before fighting for the belt.

The big question that follows is who Pettis might step into the cage. Two names that come to mind as being worthy of a title shot are Jim Miller and George Sotiropoulous, both of whom have upcoming fights already booked. Other top fighters like Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk would also seem like logical opponents. But one name stands out above all else: Clay Guida.

After the jump I’ll explain why I think he’s the best choice.

Florian and Sherk can both be eliminated off the bat because neither is a win away from a crack at the belt. Sherk is 2-2 in his last 4 and has only fought 5 times in the past 4 years. Florian, while more active than Sherk, is also 2-2 in his last 4 and just dropped his last bout to Maynard. I would actually put these two against each other to decide who re-establishes themselves as a contender and who gets relegated to permanent high-level gatekeeper status.

Miller and Sotirop are both arguably more worthy of a title shot then Guida at this point, in light of their respective win streaks. It follows that they would each also be more logical to fight Pettis in what would be a de facto title eliminator. But these two are also largely unknown to casual fans and are being brought along slowly because of that. It seems to me that Miller and Sotirop would be better served by fighting each other for a future shot at the belt, so long as they both beat their respective upcoming opponents.

The reason Guida stands out as an opponent is because he has serious name value, his current win streak (including his big win over Takanori Gomi) merits title contention, and he consistently puts on exciting fights, despite the opinions of his detractors.

Unlike Sherk and Florian, Guida has never had the opportunity to fight for the title, so he would be a fresh challenger if he were to upset Pettis. Unlike Miller and Sotirop, Guida is a grizzled veteran of the UFC, fighting for the organization 13 times since his debut in 2007. He has consistently fought high-quality competition, facing off with the likes of Gomi, Florian, Diego Sanchez, Tyson Griffin, Nate Diaz, Roger Huerta, and Marcus Aurelio. I would argue that the quality of these fighters trump those listed on the resumes of either Sotriop or Miller. On top of that, Miller and Sotirop both have fights currently booked; Guida doesn’t.

Because of all this, I think Clay Guida is the best possible opponent for Pettis in his UFC debut. A win for “Showtime” will show that he truly belongs among the best in the division. And even if he loses, it will likely be after an exciting fight, as an entertaining scrap is practically guaranteed any time either Guida or Pettis enters the cage.

  • frickshun

    As usual, good matchmaking. We need to get your resume over to MFC or Taichi Palace…..whatever the fuck those orgs are.

  • NinjaCodah

    Yup! Here’s a chance for Pettis to show that he really does deserve a title shot, in what could be a crazy fight.

  • Joon4s

    What could go wrong? Ask Grispi.

  • shawn

    Joon: but the alternative is sitting out for 10 months to a year. Putting his title shot on the line, though risky, will earn the respect of fellow fighters and fans alike. Whether he wins or loses, that’s the type of decision that will endear him to the UFC brass.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    Shawn, your mother and I want you to know this is great matchmaking you’re doing. That’s definitely a match we’d put up on the screen at one of our MMA play parties.

    Great work and great fight if they’re smart enough to book it!

  • SST

    I’d loved to see that bobblehead get KOed by Pettis.

  • shawn

    DJ: I’m glad you and mom approve. BTW, tell grandma I said hi and also tell her she left her nipple clamps at my place … again.

  • agentsmith

    I’m just impressed that Captain Caveman has actually finished 3 fights in a row… except none of those guys were relevant (despite KO’ing Tyson Griffin, Gomi hasn’t been relevant in years). He needs someone higher on the food chain for his next fight to prove whether or not he’s actually improved.

    And for Pettis, this will show whether or not he can handle the blankets wrestlers at the top of the division.

    So yeah, makes sense I guess.

  • shawn

    Agentsmith: I think your idea of “relevant” is a little too conservative.

    Gugerty had a 2-2 Octagon record going into his fight with Guida. Dos Anjos was on a three fight win streak at the time, the most recent of which was a stoppage win against highly touted prospect Terry Etim, who had a 4 fight win streak. Gomi, while not the world beater he once was, has still beaten a few tough guys over the past few years, including Griffin and Nakakura.

    So, a win isn’t “relevant” unless it’s against a top 10 opponent? Is that what you’re getting at?

    I completely agree the next step has to be against a higher ranked opponent to show where he’s really at, but at the same time I wouldn’t say that Guida’s three recent victories were against “irrelevant” competition. While not highly ranked, those were some tough dudes.

  • agentsmith

    Yeah, I guess “irrelevant” was a bit strong… I mean relevant in the sense that now people are apparently talking like Guida is almost ready for a title shot. Him beating three low-to-mid level guys only proves what we already knew about him: that he’s a mid-to-upper level gatekeeper… if you can get past Guida, you’re in the “elite”.

    Like I said, I’m impressed that he’s actually finishing fights now, cause this is the same guy that put the Jon Fitch treatment on guys like Nate Diaz and Mac Danzig.

  • Reverend Clint

    id watch that fight. im not a guida fan but I think pettis needs to be tested a little more.

  • subo

    I’ve been calling for this since that night (although not in any way that required even an ounce of effort). You’re smarter than you look, Schnitzle.

    Miller/Guillard is going to be sick. You take a guy like Melvin and sprinkle in a little Greg Jackson

  • shawn

    Subo: Isn’t Guillard fighting Dunham?

    And I purposefully make sure that I look dumber than I really am. I like to set the bar really low, so that when I do anything that appears remotely intelligent or positive it looks even more impressive then it would have been.