clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

New Featherweight - and former Lightweight champ - Anthony Pettis still wants 155-pound revenge

New, comments

"Showtime" got back in the win column at UFC on FOX 21 last Saturday (Aug. 27) in his Featherweight debut, where he is now ranked No. 6, but he told Brian Stann on SiriusXM there are some Lightweight fights he still covets.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a unanimous decision to Edson Barbosa at UFC 197, Anthony Pettis was in a position no fighter likes to be in: Staring down the barrel of a three-fight losing streak. In response, "Showtime" shed some weight and made the move to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight division. And this past Saturday (Aug. 27, 2016) at UFC on FOX 21, he submitted Charles Oliveira via guillotine choke (highlights) to pick up his first victory since UFC 181 in Dec. 2014, which is when he submitted Gilbert Melendez by the same method.

In an interview on "Toe-2-Toe with Brian Stann" on SiriusXM RUSH last Wednesday (Aug. 31) the former UFC Lightweight champ said it was a "much needed win." When Stann suggested Pettis never stopped believing in himself despite the three-fight losing streak, the Roufusport-trained fighter revealed that wasn't necessarily the case.

"I wouldn't say that, man," Pettis told Stann. "I had my share of doubts this last year. I definitely had a strong team around me -- my family, my daughter, my mom, my brothers, my girlfriend, to the coaches and the teammates. They definitely kept me on track. As an athlete you get overwhelmed with this sport, especially with the era we live in with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you are constantly reminded about your last performance and my last three performances weren't my best. So, it was a rough last year for me. We made it through. We just kept pushing. Just kept believing. Put my faith in God and my family and we are here today."

Wresting has always been the achilles heel for Pettis. But, the 29-year-old Milwaukee native is no slouch in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission departments. He proved that once again by submitting Oliveira, a jiu-jitsu black belt and by escaping several dangerous submission attempts he was put in throughout the three-round contest. In fact, Pettis last three wins have all come by submission. He ended the respective nights of both Oliveira and Melendez with guillotine chokes and took the title off Benson Henderson with an armbar.

"Wrestling isn't my strong point," said Pettis. "I"m never going to catch up to these D-1 wrestlers, the guys that did it their whole lives, but at the same time they won't catch up to me striking. I stopped believing and listening to other people besides myself. If the fight goes to the ground I got jiu-jitsu. That's my go-to and this guy is supposed to be … Well he was one of the best practitioners in the UFC at 145. Not taking anything away from Oliveira, but my ground game is definitely a strong point of my fighting."

There are plenty of bigger and stronger wrestlers in UFC's Lightweight division, and Pettis said that was a "big reason" he opted to head down to Featherweight, where he felt much stronger.

"I think these guys started believing that all they would have to do was hold me down to win," said Pettis, who is now 6-4 in UFC. "It definitely works. On the judges' scorecards you hold somebody down for three or five rounds and you are up on the scorecards. That was a big reason why the move to 145 definitely happened. I could've focused on becoming a bigger 55er, and I was like, 'you know what? I can make 145 so let's go down there and just see what happens and how it goes.' I felt strong in there. Oliveira is probably one of the bigger 45ers on the roster and I felt very strong down there."

With some fine tuning in his training and preparation for the weight cut to 145 pounds, Pettis believes he can be a force in UFC's Featherweight division, but he's not abandoning the Lightweight altogether, he says. There are a few losses he'd like to redeem.

"I think with some adjustments and some time down there, 145 is going to be a very strong weight class for me to be in. At the same time, I'm not going to close my doors at 155. I have some fights I gotta avenge down there, or actually up there at 155. So I'm sitting in a cool position right now. I got two divisions I can possibly conquer and start taking steps at to getting that belt. It's kind of up to me to where I want to go with it."