Donald Cerrone: Pettis is ducking me

Updated: August 3, 2012, 6:57 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone is accusing former WEC titleholder Anthony Pettis of ducking him.

Cerrone made the claim Friday during a conference call to promote his Aug. 11 bout against former teammate Melvin Guillard at UFC 150 in Denver.

"I've been trying to fight Anthony for a while now and every time I suggest it his manager comes back and says, 'well, we're not ready,' " Cerrone said. "'Maybe we'll fight somebody else right now.' There's always an excuse.

"He wants to just sit and hide behind his win over Ben (Henderson) and keep riding that gravy train. But there are fighters who want to fight him and prove that he's all talk.

"Pettis was saying 'my shoulder won't be ready until October.' I told him I'd sit and wait until December for him, but Melvin stepped up and took the fight."

Shortly after Cerrone made his remarks, Pettis' manager/trainer Duke Roufus talked to ESPN.com and refuted them.

"Anthony does have a serious shoulder injury," Roufus said. "He fought the last two fights with his shoulder damaged in hopes of getting a title shot.

"He did get the shoulder surgery and is hoping to get on the Nov. 17 card."

Pettis (15-2) is the last man to beat Henderson, the current UFC 155-pound champion. The two fought in December 2010 for Henderson's then-WEC title. Pettis won the bout by unanimous decision.

As the final WEC lightweight champion, Pettis was in line to fight for the UFC title. But a draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard in January 2011 forced a title rematch and put Pettis' status on hold.

Rather than sit idly, Pettis faced Clay Guida on June 4, 2011, and lost by unanimous decision. Pettis has since won two in a row to put himself back in title contention.

"He's definitely not a guy who is ducking people," Roufus said. "If Donald Cerrone can get through Melvin, and doesn't get punched out by Melvin, let's have them (Pettis and Cerrone) throw down.

"Anthony fights whoever the UFC puts in front of him."

Cerrone (18-4, with one no-contest) reentered the title-contention conversation May 15 with an impressive unanimous decision over Jeremy Stephens.

It was Cerrone's first bout since dropping a unanimous decision on Dec. 30, 2011, to Nate Diaz. The setback halted Cerrone's win streak at six.

Cerrone and Guillard (30-10-2, with one no-contest) were once teammates and sparring partners at Team Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, N.M.

Gulliard now trains with the Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Fla.

Henderson makes the first defense of his UFC lightweight title against the man he took the title from, Frankie Edgar, in the UFC 150 main event.

In their first fight, which took place on Feb. 26 in Saitama, Japan, Henderson beat Edgar by unanimous decision.