2019 wasn’t the year that Anthony Pettis expected, but it turned out to be exactly the year that he needed.
After nearly fifteen years of fluctuating between featherweight, lightweight and welterweight, Pettis listened to his body and enjoyed a calendar year without tough weight cuts. The former champ’s time at 170 pounds did produce mixed results, as he chalked up a Knockout of the Year candidate win over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and suffered a tough decision loss to Nate Diaz.
And while things didn’t go Pettis’ way in that bout against Diaz, “Showtime” is strutting into 2020 feeling like a new man now that he is back down at 155 pounds.
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“A whole year of no weight cutting in 2019 and this will be my first time going back to 155 pounds,” says Pettis. “But my body, from when I went to 145 pounds, never recovered. I tried to cut down to 155 pounds but I was hurting from that 145 weight cut. I gave my body some rest and now I look and feel the best I’ve ever looked… 2019 was a recovery year and I got some good fights.”
Pettis will make his next walk to the Octagon on January 18 at UFC 246 in Las Vegas. Standing across from him will be the streaking Diego Ferreira.
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The truth is that the opponent after his showdown with Diaz didn’t matter for Pettis. He knew that the next scrap would be a chance for him to rediscover the mindset that he had back in his championship days.
And just days away, that laser focus is tuned in and as ready as ever.
“I did get a little down after the Diaz fight,” says Pettis. “’Like, what’s the heck’s happening?’ And I just went back to having fun and I’m blessed to come here and do this job. And now it’s go time.”
A focused yet relaxed “Showtime” is great news for fans, as the off-the-cage ninja kick throwing, Superman punch delivering Pettis they all love will step into T-Mobile Arena with a chip on his shoulder.
Pettis has heard the mumbles of doubters claiming he’s lost it or that he can’t hang with the top contenders anymore. And the soon to be 33 year-old plans to hush the haters in 2020.
“I think that I just fight a lot so people have a lot to judge me on. If you look at other fighters, they don’t have performances three or four times a year,” says Pettis. “I stay busy and I fight the best in the world. Look at my track record. Look who I fought at 145 pounds, at 155 pounds and at 170 pounds. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve said yes to a fight outside the top ten or a big name.”
And if you look at Pettis’ track record, there is no questioning the level of competition that he has faced.
Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Stephen Thompson and Nate Diaz. That’s not even close to all the great names that Pettis has faced in the Octagon.
That experience is something that Pettis doesn’t take for granted, and he believes all those fights have helped him develop an edge few can match.
“I used to have to find this spot in my head and then I’d get there and be like, ‘I’m on fire.’ But now I’m finding it in third gear where I’m not trying as hard,” says Pettis. “I’ve found my rhythm and I’ve found my flow and it feels good.”
Pettis’ climb back to title contention begins on Saturday at UFC 246 when he takes on Diego Ferreira live on PPV. Make sure you watch “Showtime” fight at 10pm/7pm ETPT on ESPN+.
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