Anthony Pettis is on a quest to eventually reclaim a world championship in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On Dec. 10, he’ll have an opportunity to realize that dream when he takes on Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 206 in Toronto. The winner of the duel will be crowned the interim champion at featherweight.
When the UFC announced that Pettis-Holloway would not only serve as the fill-in main event when reigning light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier pulled out of his rematch with Anthony Johnson due to injury but would also be for yet another interim title, much of the MMA community groaned in displeasure. But to Pettis, he’s been around the block too many times to be bothered by what outsiders feel about his bosses’ decisions.
“I don’t even look at that stuff anymore,” Pettis said on the UFC 206 conference call on Tuesday. “I have been a champion before. I know how this stuff works. We don’t decide who will fight for the title. Max and I already agreed to fight but now they put a title in front of us so now it’s time for us to fight.”
Pettis, a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, was once among the greatest in the entire sport regardless of weight. But three consecutive losses curtailed his legacy for a moment, and it was a catalyst for the Milwaukee fighter to drop down to 145 pounds. He fought at that weight in August against Charles Oliveira, winning via third-round submission at UFC on Fox 21. After being at 155 pounds for so many years, Pettis says he now knows what it takes to remain at and be dominant at a lower weight class.
“My first performance at featherweight was a trial,” he stated. “The need for power isn’t as much as the need for speed. I’m definitely working on being quick and being agile so we can go five rounds at 145 pounds against a guy like Max.
“This fight was big before the main event thing happened and before the interim title was [added to the fight],” he added. “I never lost three times in my life, but you have to go through the lowest lows and the highest highs. I’m in this sport to be a champion. I’ve got some work to do down here and there are some fights that I need to avenge at 155 pounds.”
Pettis was mute regarding when he’d move back up to lightweight and did his best to dodge any questions regarding current featherweight champ Jose Aldo and former king Conor McGregor.
“I’m not even worried about what Jose Aldo does,” he said. “I’m not worried about McGregor. All I’m worried about is Dec. 10. We got an extra 10 minutes between Max and I to see who is better and the fans. He comes with an intensity and he’s got a deep tool bag. He’s a game opponent and he’s the type of fighter that gets me excited.”