Anthony Pettis defends Conor McGregor going after two UFC titles

There are a lot of fighters up in arms over Conor McGregor getting a lightweight title shot before even defending his featherweight title on one occasion.

McGregor will face Eddie Alvarez in the main event at UFC 205 and beyond potentially holding up his own division at 145 pounds, there are also a slew of contenders in the lightweight division who are not happy that the Irishman leap-frogged them without ever competing in the weight class.

While McGregor may be feeling the brunt of the attacks from many fellow fighters, former champion Anthony Pettis actually defended him during Wednesday night’s edition of "UFC Tonight" because it wasn’t all that long ago that he was trying to do the same exact thing.

"I was trying to do that when I was champ. I called out Jose Aldo right after I won the belt at lightweight, it was supposed to happen, it didn’t happen for reasons," Pettis explained. "I think right now, Conor he’s doing his thing. He’s a guy that’s winning fights, he’s knocking guys out, he’s fighting guys like Nate Diaz but he’s winning fights, what can you say."

Pettis was supposed to face Aldo back in 2013 with the featherweight title on the line, but injuries derailed the bout from happening at that time.

After winning the lightweight belt, Pettis once again asked to face Aldo because the chance to become a two-division champion was very enticing — especially with the chance to make history as the first person to ever hold both at the same time.

The fight never came together again but Pettis can’t fault McGregor for trying to accomplish the same thing as he prepares for a showdown with Alvarez on Nov. 12 in New York.

I wanted to do it so I can't say he shouldn't be able to do it

— Anthony Pettis on Conor McGregor

"When I won the belt, the first thing I said was ‘Jose Aldo we have unfinished business.’ That was my plan way back when I was the champ," Pettis said. "He’s selling the tickets, he’s selling the fights, he’s winning the fights and people want to watch him fight."

Pettis hasn’t given up hope on one day becoming a two-division champion and that’s part of the reason why he’s been targeting a match with Aldo again now that he’s holding onto the interim title while McGregor is doing business at lightweight.

Aldo has stated just recently that he’s retiring from the sport due to a dispute with the UFC but Pettis doesn’t buy it.

"If Jose Aldo wants it, I’m ready to go," Pettis said. "I think he’s more frustrated than actually trying to retire. I don’t think he’s going to retire where he’s at right now. He obviously wants that (Conor) fight back, Conor’s busy, I’m there. I think that’s the fight that makes sense for him.

"I know he wants to sell pay-per-views and I think my name with his name makes a big fight."

If Aldo really is walking away from the sport, Pettis has ideas about other potential opponents as well and it appears he’d like to get another fight in before the end of 2016.

"If Jose Aldo’s retired, give me Max Holloway," Pettis said. "If Max Holloway don’t want to fight, give me Nate Diaz. I don’t care. I’m here to fight."