Less than two weeks out from his fight with Melvin Guillard (47-11-3 MMA, 11-6 UFC), Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (18-4 MMA, 5-1 UFC) on Friday blasted former WEC champ Anthony Pettis (15-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) during a media call in support of UFC 150.
A frustrated Cerrone said his fight with Guillard only arose when Pettis turned down multiple offers to fight.
"I've been trying to fight Anthony for a while now, and every time I suggest it, his manager comes back and says, 'Well, maybe Cowboy could fight somebody else right now,' and it's just this excuse to not fight," Cerrone told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Cerrone vs. Guillard serves as the co-main event of UFC 150, which takes place Aug. 11 at Denver's Pepsi Center. The main card airs live on pay-per-view with prelims on FX and Facebook.
Pettis' manager, Mike Roberts, confirmed that Pettis did indeed turn down the fight, but only because a recent shoulder surgery precluded him from competing at UFC 150. The fighter originally was told he couldn't get in the cage until October, but that timeframe recently was pushed to November.
"I've never suggested 'Cowboy' fight anybody," Roberts on Friday said. "He's definitely not running from 'Cowboy.' Anthony is running for whoever has got the belt, and unfortunately for 'Cowboy,' it's never been him.
"But having said that, if 'Cowboy' wins his fight, and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva tells us beating him is going to get us a title shot, Anthony would gladly accept that fight."
According to Cerrone, Pettis was the original opponent he proposed to meet at the Aug. 11 event. He then said he would wait until December to fight Pettis, but Guillard instead took the booking at UFC 150.
The turndown was part of a pattern, Cerrone said of the ex-champ.
"[Pettis] wants to just sit and hide behind his win over Ben and keep trying to ride that gravy train," he said. "There's fighters that want to fight him and prove that he's just all talk, so that is a fight I definitely want. I'm not overlooking Melvin by any means, but that's the fight I was lobbying for first before Melvin stepped up."
Cerrone, who's beaten all but one of his six octagon foes, said he would continue his push to meet Pettis if victorious at UFC 150.
But that won't happen, joked Guillard, a former training partner and friend of "Cowboy" who's long been considered a top lightweight talent.
"He ain't beating me," Guillard said. "I'm going to beat his ass in Denver."
That's the fight I wanted to see in the first place.