Anthony Pettis In Search of Former Glory at UFC 246

Anthony Pettis

Getty Anthony Pettis stands in the Octagon prior to his bout against Jim Miller in their lightweight bout during UFC 213.

At UFC 246, former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will enter the cage to fight the surging Brazilian, Carlos Diego Ferreira, in a weight class that Pettis knows well. After spending 2019 at welterweight, Showtime has decided to drop back down to the weight class he once ruled: lightweight.

This bout against Ferreira is a very important one for Showtime. It will be a gauge to see if Pettis is ready to begin climbing the ladder back to the top of the division. Although he has been a world-class talent for a decade, Pettis is now 4-7 in his last eleven fights spanning three different weight classes.

Since losing his belt to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185, the man who was once on the front of a Wheaties box has not been able to recapture his former glory. If he is to do so, defeating Ferreira is a crucial step to take.

Ferreira, who is an unranked fighter at lightweight, is looking to make a name for himself by taking out the former lightweight champ. He is currently on a five-fight win streak, including a win over Rustam Khabilov. Fighting Pettis on the main card of UFC 246 is the most significant moment in Ferreira’s fighting career to date, and it will showcase whether Ferreira is ready to join the top 15 of the lightweight division. If he loses, however, he will most likely remain unranked and may need to rebuild some of the momentum he had going into UFC 246 to draw another big name like Pettis.

There are big stakes for both fighters in this match. If Showtime wins, it may be an indication that he can start a run to contend for his old belt. But if he loses, there is a possibility that he will have to play the role of a fan-favorite gatekeeper. At only 32 years old, Showtime has the skills to be matched up with anyone in the lightweight division, but he must defeat Ferreira if he wants to start accelerating up the division’s ladder.

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Showtime Has Become a Lightweight Champion in Two Different Promotions, WEC and UFC

Pettis joined the UFC in 2010 when fighters from World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) were absorbed by the UFC. Showtime was the last WEC lightweight champion. He won the title in the final event, WEC 53, by defeating Benson Henderson in a fight that would feature Pettis’ patented showtime kick.

On the heels of that blockbuster kick, Showtime arrived in the UFC with a lot of hype surrounding him; when he lost to Clay Guida in his UFC debut, many fans were shocked. Guida did a great job wrestling Showtime during the fight, neutralizing a lot of the WEC champion’s weapons. Pettis showed a lot of heart and excellent ground defense but ultimately lost via decision.

After the Guida fight, he won three in a row before challenging for the UFC lightweight championship. Two of those fights he won by spectacular finishes, including a devastating head-kick knockout of Joe Lauzon and a savage body kick TKO of UFC 246’s main event fighter Donald Cerrone.

These fights, including a win over Jeremy Stephens, lined Showtime up for a chance to capture UFC gold. And the man who was the lightweight champion at the time was none other than Benson Henderson, the fighter who was on the receiving end of Pettis’ showtime kick in WEC.

The two fought at UFC 164, and Pettis walked away from that fight as the UFC lightweight champion when he secured a wicked armbar. Showtime would go on to defend the belt against veteran Gilbert Melendez, winning via guillotine choke. After this win, Pettis’ star was shining bright. He was starting to become a household name, and as mentioned earlier, he had his picture on the front of a Wheaties box.

Since the Melendez Win, Pettis Has Had Ups and Downs Spanning Three Different Weight Classes

In Showtime’s second title defense, he took on Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185. He would ultimately lose his title to dos Anjos by unanimous decision, the start of a three-fight skid. He dropped his next two fights to Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza, prompting him to choose a new UFC path.

Pettis dropped down to the featherweight division in hopes of securing gold in a new, smaller weight class. His debut at featherweight went very well, submitting Charles Oliveira at UFC on Fox: Maia vs. Condit. Pettis was then scheduled to fight for the interim UFC featherweight championship against Max Holloway at UFC 206. However, Pettis became ineligible to win the belt since he missed weight by three pounds. Showtime ended up losing the fight to Holloway, suffering the first TKO loss of his career.

Pettis, who has gone on record saying that cutting down to featherweight depleted him, moved back up to lightweight. Pettis would go 2-2 in his next four matches at lightweight, defeating Jim Miller and Michael Chiesa, but losing to Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson.

After his loss to Ferguson at UFC 229, Pettis decided to move up to welterweight. Showtime’s first fight in his new weight class turned out to be one of his greatest UFC wins ever, when he knocked out former welterweight title contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. This win rose Pettis’ stock considerably, and he was poised to make a championship run. But his welterweight journey was cut short when he lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 241 in August 2019.

Showtime is now back at lightweight, and on Jan. 18, he will show the world if he is ready to work his way up the ladder to a crown that he used to call his own.

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Anthony Pettis Is Refreshed and Ready To Go for UFC 246

Showtime views 2019 as a great year for his body. He didn’t have to cut weight for an entire year, which was vital since his featherweight stint had lasting consequences even after he moved back up to lightweight.

In an interview with UFC News, Pettis said:

“I get the Wonderboy fight; I call him out, we move up to 170, my body feels amazing, no weight cut. So, a whole year of no weight cut in 2019 and this is going to be my first time going back to ’55, but my body from going down to 145 never recovered man. I tried to cut down to ’55, but I was hurting because of that’ 45-pound weight cut. I just gave my body some rest. I look and feel the best I’ve ever looked, honestly. And I know everybody says that every time, but this is one of them times where I feel it. I needed rest from cutting weight.”

Showtime continues the interview by saying that 2019 was a recovery year for him. He is back to lightweight, feeling refreshed and “back in love with the sport.” He’s back to having fun, with the mindset that he’s blessed to be fighting for the UFC and having the lifestyle that he’s built for himself.

He said he has no problem starting off the main card instead of headlining it or fighting in the co-main event. Pettis has been itching to fight since his Diaz match, and he accepted the fight with Ferreira when he heard that the Brazilian was ready to fight.

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