There is no doubt that the lightweight division is one of the toughest divisions in the UFC, if not THE toughest.
That makes jumping into the 155-lb rankings nearly impossible, even for a guy like Diego Ferreira, who has put together a five-fight win streak over the last four years.
But now that Ferreira has secured a showdown with former champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 246, Ferreira believes that it’s time for him to earn the respect he deserves.
“This is the biggest fight of my career. He used to be the champ and he’s a well-known fighter,” says Ferreira. “I’m not a young kid anymore. I’m going to be 35 years old soon. I have the momentum, and this is my chance to take over and make a big impact on the division.”
Ferreira, who trains out of Fortis MMA in Dallas, TX, has beaten the likes of Jared Gordon, Rustam Khabilov and Mairbek Taisumov. These victories have helped him gain confidence leading into his bout with Pettis.
At first, he was surprised that Pettis was willing to take the fight, but once it was accepted, the Brazilian knew that UFC 246 would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for him.
“I’m the one who has everything to gain. If I can finish Anthony Pettis the way I want to, I deserve to be in the conversation of the top ten,” says Ferreira. “I think this big event has the potential for me to get more exposure, especially since I’m the first fight of the PPV card and it will be a real opportunity to show people who I am.”
UFC 246 will be Ferreira’s first MMA bout in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas. It has been something he has been looking forward to for a long time. So if you’re doing the math, Ferreira is fighting in Las Vegas for the first time, fighting a former champion and is on the PPV portion of a massive event.
Despite the high stakes, Ferreira claims that he isn’t nervous at all. All he’s focused on is the same thing he has been focused on since his starting his win streak back in 2016 – having fun.
“I just want to enjoy this moment. I’m enjoying doing interviews, training hard, and I know I will enjoy fight week,” Ferreira said. “For the last five fights I just have been trying to have fun and step into the Octagon feeling free. That has really helped me become the fighter I am today.”
Ferreira is expecting to have even more fun once the punches and kicks start flying with an explosive fighter like Pettis.
“I’m expecting a crazy fight and I always expect that he will do crazy things. He has always been one of the most entertaining fighters and he’s great on the ground, a great boxer and has cage kicks,” Ferreira said with a laugh. “I like to fight everywhere and I’m not going to lie, I really want to have a fight that people can’t stop talking about.”
I want Pettis and I to steal the show.”
Make sure you get the UFC 246 PPV on ESPN+ in order to watch Ferreira battle Pettis live on PPV. The card starts at 10pm/7pm ETPT.