By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Anthony Pettis' trip to the hospital on Monday for a staph infection has his potential next opponent, Donald Cerrone, questioning whether or not he should be waiting out for that fight. Pettis has been sidelined much of 2012 after undergoing shoulder surgery, and though he's expected to be ready by January, the setbacks to date have already unnerved Cerrone.
"That's the No. 1 contendership, so of course that means something," Cerrone said of the matchup in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "That's the ultimate goal to get that title, chase that dream. So it makes sense. Does waiting on him make sense? I don't know."
"It suck [being sidelined]. I need to get with my management team, and we need to figure out what's going on. Is Pettis going to be out longer? Do we need to look at somebody else? What is our plan of attack? I don't even know. If you're getting surgery on your elbow, how long are you going to be out for you. Are you going to be ready in January? Are you not?"
"We were supposed to go for Denver. No. OK, we'll be ready in December. January. Now February? March? I understand the guy is hurt, but I've got bills to pay, too."
Cerrone's not ready to bow out and look elsewhere just yet, but if things get pushed back any further he says they're going to need to evaluate the situation and possibly take another fight. At this stage, if the UFC wants him in the cage, he's ready to step in the cage, even if it's out of the 155 lb. division.
"Absolutely 100 percent I want that belt, but do I want to stay active and keep fighting?" Cerrone asked. "That gives me the lifestyle I want to live ? staying active and staying busy. As I get older and my career goes on, I'm going to have to start being more selective on the fights, but listen, if I'm going to preach and I'm going to say, 'Cowboy will fight anybody, anywhere, anytime,' when they call me I'm going to have to be a man of my word."
"I'm 180 pounds right now," Cerrone continued. "For me to make 170 would be a cakewalk. I would definitely do it 100 percent. I would never say no to a fight. If Jon Jones calls, I'll fight him. That's my teammate. Leonard Garcia at 145, that's my brother, and I'd fight him. That's just my attitude toward this sport. You've got to get out there, and you've got to lay it all on the line. You've got to fight hard because that's what people want to see.
"At this point, they could call me tomorrow and say, 'Hey, man, we need you next week,' and I'll be game on."
Penick's Analysis: From the sounds of things, Pettis' run-in with staph infection shouldn't hold him back any further than he was already going to be out, so if the fight is still able to happen in January that's what's going to happen. But it's clear that Cerrone's not going to simply sit on the sidelines while Pettis heals, so another bout may be in order if the Roufusport product remains unable to enter the cage. It would be a shame for this fight to not happen once again, but as Cerrone says, he's got bills to pay as well, and taking any fight is better than not fighting at all in that respect.