Anthony Pettis has experienced an up-and-down career over the last couple of years.
After coughing up his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185 back in 2015, “Showtime” went on to lose two more at 155 pounds before making the drop down to Featherweight.
He went 1-1 at 145 pounds, and after failing to make weight for his the interim title fight against Max Holloway — a fight he lost — he ultimately jumped back up to 155 pounds where he has gone 2-1, choking out Michael Chiesa in his previous bout.
For Pettis, the turnaround has a lot to do with getting over his mental block.
“RDA was the better man that night. I finally admitted it to myself,” Pettis said on the Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. (via ESPN). “I was on top of the world and then that happens to you. I’ve never even been hit in any of my fights, basically. Then the RDA fight happens and you have to readjust,” he added.
”It’s a mental block. You know what happened and want to get past it, but you also know how good you are and it’s a battle in your own head that you had to figure out.”
With some new-found confidence in his back pocket, Anthony feels he has what it takes to put all of his God-given abilities on display for another run at the title. And though his win over “Maverick” was impressive, it was only the tip of the iceberg.
“Now I’m fearless again,” Pettis says. “I’m going to win every sparring match. I’m going to win every session I’m in. I have God-given skills and I need to use them to the best of my ability. I thought my last fight was a great performance, but I still saw some things in my game that can get better.”
Anthony will next face former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in the co-main event of the upcoming UFC 229 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Oct. 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. And though he initially had his eye on Kevin Lee, Pettis welcomes the Ferguson matchup, as he says “El Cucuy’s” style is tailor-made for him.
“I love it,” Pettis says of the matchup. “I think he has a great fighting style. He’s one of the guys who comes and brings it. I’m excited to get in there with a guy like that. He’s going to try to finish the fight, and that’s what I’m trying to do the whole time.”
A win over Tony could put him on the fast track to reclaiming his title, which means Anthony will be heavily invested in the headlining bout which will see Khabib Nurmagomedov take on Conor McGregor.
But this guy will also be watching.