After suffering an injury that forced him to vacate the Bellator Bantamweight title in 2019, Kyoji Horiguchi will attempt to win back the belt tomorrow night (Dec. 3, 2021) when he takes on current division kingpin, Sergio Pettis. It’s because he never lost the belt in a fight that Horiguchi made the claim that he’s still the true ruler of the division, even though the weight class has had two champions since he left it behind.
But, if you think that statement is going to ruffle Pettis’ feathers, you are in for a surprise. That’s because “The Phenom” boldly admitted that the title is Horiguchi’s and that he’s just keeping it warm for him until they tango to see who deserves to be the true champion.
“In my head that’s how I view it,” Pettis told MMA Junkie. “He was the champion and he hurt his knee unfortunately and had to vacate the belt and Juan won it by beating Patchy Mix, and I beat Juan. But, at the end of the day, that’s Horiguchi’s belt. I’m kind of just babysitting it. This fight will really signify who the real champion is of this division.”
But, that doesn’t mean Pettis is simply going to lie down and roll over for the long-time veteran when they headline Bellator 272. On the contrary, Pettis believes this will be his breakout fight.
“He’s not just a stand up fighter,” Pettis said. “He can submit you, he can take you down. He knows how to play the game really well. It’s hard to deny that. I’m excited to test my skills, test my style. I’m a good point in my life where this is going to be my breakout fight, honestly.
“I still haven’t had that perfect performance yet where I’m like, ‘Yo, this is it. This is who I am. This is who I’m going to be.’ So I’m taking it fight-by-fight and I feel like this is going to be the one,” he concluded.
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