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PFL headliner Anthony Pettis wants to win world titles, not ‘popularity contests’

UFC 249 Pettis v Cerrone Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Anthony Pettis is gearing up to have his first fight in PFL.

Well, second if you count this. But it sounds like the former UFC lightweight champion is saying goodbye to the pressure of staying popular — to be expected when you grace the cover of Wheaties — and getting back to winning world championships.

Which starts with a Clay Collard headliner on April 23 on ESPN2.

“I’ve been in the UFC for such a long time, I’ve fought everybody, three different weight classes, there’s not much more I can do in that organization,” Pettis said. “I’m kind of over that popularity contest. So, this year I can become a champion in the PFL. That’s another big goal of mine is to become another champion before I leave this sport and I stop fighting for good. They’re giving me the opportunity to do it by December.”

Pettis, who turned 34 back in January, parted ways with UFC after winning back-to-back fights over Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono. In the process, “Showtime” pushed his record to 24-10 with 11 knockouts and seven submissions.

A couple more could put him in front of PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte.

“The point system with all these fights coming up back to back makes me nervous, and that’s a good thing,” Pettis continued. “I haven’t been nervous for a long time. I’m in Milwaukee in the wintertime training. I gotta a beautiful house in Vegas I could be at. And things like that make me want to come back and like, yo, I need to focus in. I need to get the job done again. I feel like I’m back to the beginning, if you will.”

Collard will no doubt try to keep him there on April 23.

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