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Report: Justin Gaethje vs. Anthony Pettis targeted for UFC event in early 2019

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Just over a month after a bloody, exhilarating Fight of the Night battle with Tony Ferguson, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis may very well be engaging in another war for his next bout.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that the UFC is trying to make a matchup between Pettis and Justin Gaethje come to fruition early next year.

Gaethje (19-2) snapped a two-fight losing streak to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier by viciously knocking out James Vick at UFC Lincoln in August. The former WSOF champion is widely regarded as one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA, and considering the fact that he as more post-fight bonuses (5) than UFC fights (4), I’d say he’s kept that reputation going since joining the UFC in 2017.

Pettis (21-8) is coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson in the UFC 229 co-main event, with Duke Roufus stopping the fight due to a broken hand. He’s alternated between wins and losses over his last six bouts, with his most recent victory coming by submission vs. Michael Chiesa at UFC 226. Pettis returned to lightweight last year after an ill-fated two-fight stint at featherweight, including missing weight against Max Holloway in an interim title bout.

For what it’s worth, Gaethje is a native of Arizona who fought in his home state this year, suffering a TKO defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale. The UFC has an ESPN-televised card slated for February 17th at the same venue.

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