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Anthony Pettis is headed back to lightweight, but will it be with UFC?

“Showtime” finds himself a free agent on a two-fight win streak. Will he continue with UFC or head elsewhere?

UFC Fight Night: Pettis v Morono Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Here’s a crazy stat for you: Anthony Pettis’ win over Alex Morono at UFC Vegas 17 marks the first time since 2014 that “Showtime” has put together back-to-back victories.

That’s pretty wild considering how hyped Pettis has been for so long, and how much respect he still gets despite a literally checkered record that now sits at 24-10 (and 6-7 since he dropped the UFC Lightweight title in 2015). Following his win, Pettis credited taking control of his drinking for his recent success.

“When I won, I was like drinking because of celebration drinking,” he told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “If I lost, I was drinking because of sorrow drinking. My diet would get s—t and I would be all over the place with like my outside life. When I got to a training camp I was like 100 percent strict, but what you do outside of that camp really matters inside your camps.”

”I cleaned up that part of my life and I’m taking fighting more seriously right now. It feels good to see the progression and win two fights for such a long time.”

Unfortunately, we may never know if Pettis can climb back to the top of UFC’s rankings at Lightweight, where “Showtime” says he’s headed next. That’s because he may also be moving to Bellator to join his little brother Sergio. There’s been tons of rumors to that effect, and UFC Vegas 17 marked the final fight on his UFC contract. UFC is pretty high pressure when it comes to locking fighters back in rather than allowing them to go to free agency, so even getting to this point signals the end of Pettis’ UFC era.

For his part, Pettis isn’t closing the door on returning to UFC, but says it’s basically out of his hands.

“That was the last fight of my UFC contract and I don’t know what’s going to happen, honestly,” he said. “I’m kind of open to what they come back to me at. See, my little brother is out of the UFC now, and it’s of those things, I’m not attached to anything anymore. I’m taking these fights one fight at a time. My goal is to be the best version of myself. Obviously, UFC is where the best guys are at, so I’d love to fight in this organization still, but we’ll see what happens. Contract negotiations are something that happens outside of my world. I have an agent to take care of that.”

There’s still certainly fights worth booking in UFC.

“I think Tony [Ferguson] makes sense, man,” Pettis suggested. “I think Tony Ferguson coming off his two losses, and he’s fighting tough dudes. That’s what I hate about this sport. Guys are like, ‘Oh, Tony’s done.’ Dude, he’s a dangerous dude. But I think that would be a good fight for me to jump back in the lightweight mix and he’s still right up there.”

That’s a fight that certainly gets us excited. But, considering UFC tends to consider exploring free agency as an insult in and of itself, we have our doubts they’ll make any serious efforts to lure “Showtime” back into their ranks. There’s decent fights in Bellator, too, at least. A Benson Henderson rematch is low hanging fruit, and I’d love to watch Pettis take on Patricky “Pitbull.” Honestly, if you’re rooting for Pettis to make more money and earn another belt, Bellator is probably the place he should end up.

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