Anthony Pettis is one of a number of fighters who have every reason to be less than pleased to see Conor McGregor jump up to lightweight and bag a title shot as soon as he clicks his fingers. The former lightweight champ has been more welcoming to McGregor than perhaps he could have been.
Speaking last week, he was up front with the belief that fighters in the lightweight division calling out the Dubliner could do with taking a step back and looking at what he did instead of trying to steal the buzz he's created. Having said that however, the reality of the situation is that McGregor has been placed in front of Pettis when perhaps, he should have earned his crust in the lightweight division first.
Since losing the lightweight title to Dos Anjos last March, Pettis has been absent from the Octagon. That absence comes to an end this weekend when he fights Eddie Alvarez at Fight Night 81, a fight which he took in the knowledge that a win would bring him back into title contention.
With UFC 197 and McGregor vs Dos Anjos on the cards, Pettis is all too aware that he could be aiming for an Irishman instead of a Brazilian if he wants that title back and while he's perfectly happy with that. Speaking to MMA Fighting, Pettis has said he's willing to take whatever comes his way after this weekend's bout.
I want to go out and prove that I'm the best in the world with or without the belt. If they give me the title shot, I'll take it. If they want to give me McGregor, I'll take it.
Perhaps with a future title fight in mind, he also had a warning for McGregor whom he believes is moving up to 'a different world'.
I've seen it a million times, so I'm not going to stress myself out over a title shot or who's next in line. If they're going to make money on Conor, I'm sure they'll give (the title shot) to Conor. But I'll tell you this, Conor going to 155 is a totally different world. I mean, he's not going to go up there and look like the Conor of 145. That's why Jose Aldo never moved to 155.
It would be foolish to suggest that McGregor's domination at 145 is proof that he will inevitably do the same at lightweight. In that regard, Pettis is probably correct but it's going a bit far to suggest that 'he's not going to go up there and look like the Conor of 145'.
The reality of the situation is, he really doesn't know. None of us do for certain but when you look at the facts, it would suggest that McGregor is very much at home in his 'new' surroundings. McGregor's history at lightweight is well known, sure he may have lost to Joseph Duffy but his final fight before signing with the UFC saw him claim the Cage Warriors lightweight crown with a first round KO of Ivan Buchinger.
Granted the standard of opponent may not be the same but to suggest that McGregor is going to be surprised by what the lightweight division has in store for him is stretching things a bit far. You only need to look at one of McGregor's beaten opponents to see what positive benefits such a move can have.
At the same height as McGregor, Dustin Poirier has looked like a different fighter since moving back up to lightweight after his defeat to the now featherweight champ back in September 2014. Poirier is carrying his natural weight going into fights and he showed against Joseph Duffy just what that can result in.
Time will tell whether the absence of such a drastic weight cut has the same effect on McGregor but we'd suggest he won't be too worried about what this 'totally different world' has to offer.