by Steven Marrocco on Aug 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm ET
Sure, Kimbo-killer Seth Petruzelli (13-6 MMA, 0-0 BFC) would rather fight guys at his natural class, which is light-heavyweight.
But in this economy, he's willing to fight heavier guys, and that's one reason he jumped on an opportunity to fight Ricco Rodriguez (47-11 MMA, 0-0 BFC) on Saturday at Bellator 48.
"It's kind of hard to turn down a fight like that," Petruzelli told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Bellator 48 takes place at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and its main card airs live on MTV2.
Rodriguez, of course, is a former UFC heavyweight champion who's found his groove after a long fall from grace. He's put together a 12-fight win streak in regional competition and done so within spitting distance of the light-heavyweight division. It's a far cry from his days pushing 300 pounds.
A win over a former UFC champ would thus be great for Petruzelli, who recently got back on the right track after a pair of heartbreaking losses that ended his second run in the UFC. But it's not just about the reputation that Rodriguez brings to the table. It's the money.
Petruzelli fought Bob Sapp in 2004 for just such a reason. (He lost the kickboxing match when he injured his elbow.)
"I always would like to fight guys at my natural weight," Petruzelli said. "It sucks fighting guys that are [6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6] that are cutting from the 265-pound limit. But would I do it? Yeah, I would do it.
"The money is a motivator, but I like being faster than whoever I fight. I feel with all the heavyweights, I feel like I'm definitely faster than the majority of them."
And he feels that once he gets a feel for Rodriguez's speed and timing, it's going to be his fight to win. He doesn't want to hang out for three rounds against a bigger guy. If he can get a quick knockout, all the better.
"I'm always going to try and end it early," Petruzelli said. "I don't like going three rounds; I know he doesn't like going three rounds.
"Realistically, I don't see it happening in the first round. Possibly the second. It's just going to take me a little bit to figure out his timing and when he's coming in to clinch. Once I get his timing down, I'm pumped."
A multi-fight contract with Bellator could turn into a tournament opportunity, but Petruzelli insists he's not looking past Saturday's fight.
"This is kind of a pivotal point in my career," he said. "I need to win on this one, for sure."
Or could it be a heavyweight tournament?
Maybe, for the right price.