Best known for the "Matrix-esque cage kick" heard around the world, he delivered a near fight ending foot to the face of Ben Henderson at World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 53, springing himself off of the cage and landing the blow perfectly. The kick, dubbed "The Showtime Kick," sent the fans in attendance and the millions watching on television into a frenzy.
It remains to this day on mixed martial arts (MMA) highlight reels everywhere. And it will most likely remain there indefinitely.
Now, "Showtime" plans on pleasing the Japanese crowd with his creative striking, while capitalizing on his opponent's lack of cardio in the later rounds. Pettis, tells Sherdog.com that fans can expect him to dig into his bag of tricks this weekend (Feb. 25, 2012) as he takes on Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Check it out:
"Joe Lauzon's a guy that everybody looks past, but I'm not looking past him. He's dangerous in the first round and he's always looking for the finish. He's jumping for heel hooks. He's jumping for kimuras. He's looking to finish the fight and he surprises you with his standup. I've got to be on my ‘A' game and just dictate the pace. I can't let him come out there and decide where the fight goes. That has to be up to me. A guy like Joe Lauzon, I think I'm going to open up a lot. First round he's always dangerous, but in the second and third -- even in the Sam Stout fight and a lot of other fights -- he kind of gasses and doesn't come as hard as he did in the first round, so look out for something new this fight."
Pettis, however, acknowledges that all that matters is the win, no matter how he achieves it:
"That's the only thing going through my mind in all these fights: win this fight. No matter how I do it, whether it's a ‘Showtime' kick or I've got to take this guy and beat him down and beat him up for three rounds, it's winning fights. That's what's going to get me back to title contention and my title shot."
After losing his chance to battle Frankie Edgar for the UFC Lightweight title by coming up short against Clay Guida at the The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 Finale, Pettis earned a split decision win against Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136 to get him back on track.
Pettis, the last man to win the WEC 155-pound title by defeating, oddly enough, Ben Henderson, the man who will challenge Edgar at UFC 144 for the UFC 155-pound title, looks to get one step closer to adding UFC gold to his mantle by defeating the scrappy Lauzon, who is on a two fight win streak.
Any of you Maniacs care to venture what "Showtime" might have in store for Japan?