This time last year, Anthony Pettis was the UFC’s lightweight champ, and had even been called the planet’s best pound-for-pound fighter by Dana White. Then “Showtime” ran into Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185, and yadda, yadda, yadda, RDA, and not Pettis, is fighting Conor McGregor at UFC 197.
Now sure, anyone who has seen RDA fight, knows it’s silly to write Pettis off as a world class talent, because of his loss to the reigning lightweight champ. But, what did go wrong for Pettis last March?
Well, the dynamic striker is scheduled to fight Eddie Alvarez next Sunday at UFC Fight Night 81, and recently Pettis had this to say about his recent performances (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I’m not looking to go out there and fight a war, like I did in my last two fights. I gotta get back. I really had a big mental breakthrough in this camp and just remembered where I used to be at. I didn’t get touched this much. I barely got punched in any of my fights before Melendez and RDA.“For some reason, I got into this boxing mindset, where I’m going to go out there and box this guy up, try to put my hands on him. That’s not me. I’m a rangy fighter. I’m a smart fighter. I don’t get in exchanges unless I know I’m going to be the winner of that exchange, and I gotta get back to that.”
That’s an interesting take on it, and there’s no question that his vaunted kicking game played a key factor in his rise up the UFC’s lightweight rankings (and yes, his submission game earned him the belt and then defended it against Melendez).
Pettis also credited Alvarez for his toughness and abilities in the report, and he understands that the former Bellator champ is going to bring it next Sunday. So, it’s going to be fascinating to see whether Pettis can maintain his range and keep Alvarez at bay. One would think the latter will also be working his wrestling as well.
The January 17th, UFC FN 81 will go down in Boston. In the headliner, bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw will take on former champ Dominick Cruz.