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Anthony Pettis won’t coast on ‘Showtime’ name for PFL season debut — ‘I’ve got to prove myself’

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There was a time in the not-too-distant past when former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis was ranked No. 1 in the world at 155 pounds, as well as Top 5 on the pound-for-pound chart.

A result of winning five straight with four finishes.

But the accolades of yesteryear won’t do Pettis any good when he makes his PFL debut on April 23 in Atlantic City, because “Showtime” is starting over with a new promotion against a new crop of talent, including grizzled veteran Clay Collard.

“I’ve got to start at a new job (and prove myself),” Pettis said. “Everything I’ve done in my past, we all know in the fight world, you’re only as good as your last fight. I’ve got a target on my back. I’ve already seen it. When I announced the signing a lot of their fighters were like, ‘I look forward to meeting you in the Octagon.’ I’m excited about a new journey, a whole new path of my career and a new chapter.”

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.

“Obviously, you’ve got to look at that guy,” Pettis continued. “He won twice in a row, definitely looked great, had some great striking, great jiu-jitsu, all-around great fighter, honestly. He comes from a great camp, so he has guys testing him all the time in his camp, but he hasn’t fought Anthony Pettis. He hasn’t fought somebody like me. The way my mindset is right now I’m just excited to go out there and actually perform. Not only win, but perform, and carry that flag on my back.”

It all starts on April 23 on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.