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Gray Maynard: Anthony Pettis Isn’t Yet Proven As A Contender

The UFC lightweight division is as deep a division as there exists in the UFC, and will only get deeper by the time the Strikeforce 155’ers are added to the fold. With that depth of competition though, comes a logjam of contenders at the top of the division — in addition to longtime top UFC lightweight Jim Miller, the last reigning WEC lightweight champ, Anthony Pettis, is in the queue for a title shot.

The next man preparing to take the title, Gray Maynard, doesn’t think that the 24-year old Pettis has done enough to have earned his spot near the top of the UFC lightweight contender heap, even if he did pull off the now-famous “Showtime kick.” Maynard spoke with recently about where he sees “Showtime’s” status in the division.

“I mean, who has he fought?,” Maynard asked of Pettis. “I’ve been in the trenches this whole time fighting the toughest guys. He throws one kick and then he’s the greatest in the world? Let’s look at who he’s fought. Ben Henderson is the best name. And I don’t mind fighting him; I don’t care if I win the belt and then I have to take him on. But for me, guys like Miller, Melendez and all of these guys who have been on the f***ing grind, fighting the best competition for the past few years… that’s what I look at. Who have you fought? I don’t care about how good you looked when you fought a scrub. That doesn’t matter. If a guy isn’t good then you’re not supposed to look good. And for me, [Pettis] has fought one good guy in Ben, and he isn’t proven yet. He’s tough as hell, but we’ll see.”

Pettis isn’t a lock for a title shot yet though, as he needs to get past Clay Guida in his UFC debut first. The two exciting lightweights will meet at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale this June 4 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.