We could be possibly facing one of the biggest matches in lightweight history when Conor McGregor faces Rafael Dos Anjos next month. No matter the outcome of the fight, fans should be excited for what’s to come and nothing could bring more evidence than a fight that was announced yesterday. Former champion Anthony Pettis(18-4) takes on top tiered contender Edson Barboza(16-4) at the upcoming and very stacked UFC 197. The crazy notion that this is just a main card scrap is preposterous considering a year ago we could look at this fight as a main event. That is the current climate that exists in the talent rich division and one to be really excited for.
This Sunday another former contender who came up short against the current champion, Donald Cerrone takes on the Brazilian Cowboy in Alex Oliveira. The 13-2 and rangy fighter may feel the wrath of a disappointed Cerrone coming off his title fight but as seen from his last performances he will be ready. His ride also shows the opportunity to excel in the division as less than a year ago he was fighting the likes of athletes such as Gilbert Burns, Joilton Santos and more in other organizations. Though with wins against KJ Noons and Piotr Hallmann he has quickly climbed the ranks. This will be his biggest fight to date in the UFC and should be a great one as Oliveira has no issue with the spotlight.
At the start of 2013 Anthony Pettis would win two fights that would cement him as one of the top fighters in the UFC. Flash forward 2 years later and he has lost his last two fights and is looking for answers on how to regain his title. With his sure fire nemesis Benson Henderson wading the Bellator waters as of now Pettis faces one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. Edson Barboza has also been on a particularly strange journey in the past few years. After a surprising first round lost to Cerrone he went on to notch two straight wins over Bobby Green and Evan Dunham. That was followed by a loss to the streaking Michael Johnson and before etching a fight of the year type of performance against Paul Felder. Things once again didn’t go his way Tony Ferguson and now he looks gain his momentum back against Pettis. Just the names listed on his warpath alone lets you know how deep this division is and how at anytime we could see a new champion crowned. While many are not happy with McGregor receiving an instant title shot there is no reason to go into detail on why he did.
March 5th will be here before we know it and the implications of the title fight are huge. No matter the winner there is a murder’s row of contenders in 155 that either competitor would be happy to face. The only sad reality is if Conor does win we may see him try to move up before fighting against some of the other lightweight talent. That man will do what he pleases but it’s a win, win for UFC fans no matter what the outcome. While we sit here and speculate what could and could not beat let us also not forget a Dagestani fighter who after constant injuries is probably hungrier than even to place himself at the top. Here is to hoping he gets that chance.