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Anthony Pettis (21-8) is a former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion. His next outing will see him clash with Stephen Thompson (14-3-1) in a welterweight contest in the UFC Fight Night 148 headliner, taking place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 23. As fight day looms, here are five things that you might not know about the Roufusport member.
He is a keen businessman.The business savvy Pettis is the proprietor of a barbershop and part owner of his long-time gym, Roufusport MMA Academy, in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 32 year-old has also earned money from endorsements with multinational companies, such as Monster Energy Drink, Reebok and Bud Light.
He was rejected for “The Ultimate Fighter.”In late 2008, unbeaten 21-year-old prospect Pettis tried out for The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs United Kingdom. However, “Showtime” did not do enough impress the selectors during the trials.
He has competed in three weight classes.During his 12-year, 29-bout career, Pettis has turned out in three different divisions. In his 19th professional contest, he claimed the UFC lightweight strap in his hometown of Milwaukee. His first-round armbar of long-standing rival Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in Aug. 2013 won him Submission of the Night honors.
He would go on to defend the belt once to Gilbert Melendez, before losing his strap to Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision at UFC 185 in March 2015. After losing his next two fights, Pettis made the decision to drop down to featherweight.
The move to 145 pounds got off to a good start, with Pettis submitting Charles Oliveira by guillotine at UFC on Fox 21 in August 2016. In his next outing at UFC 206, which took place December 2016 in what was meant to be an interim title tilt against Max Holloway, Pettis missed weight, and was then defeated by the now-divisional king via TKO. Following the losing effort, Pettis returned to lightweight.
His forthcoming welterweight clash versus Stephen Thompson will be the first time that “Showtime” has will be competing at welterweight since 2008.
He has dealt with tragedy.On Nov. 12, 2003, Pettis’ father was stabbed to death when he disturbed a would-be robber at a friend’s house. Pettis Sr. left behind a wife and three sons. It was a tumultuous time for the then 15-year-old Pettis, his mother, older sibling, and younger brother and fellow UFC fighter Sergio Pettis. In one interview, Pettis reflected on this challenging period in his life, “The next two years were like a blur… I spent two years pretty much going through the motions.”
He once pulled off one of the most spectacular moves ever seen in the cage.In his sixth contest with the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting promotion, “Showtime” met the organization’s reigning lightweight champion Henderson. In a Fight of the Night honors winning effort, Pettis emerged victorious by unanimous decision, after five rounds of thrilling action.
The battle is best remembered, though, for the sensational flying cage kick that saw Pettis knock Henderson down in the final frame. The move is still talked about to this day. Click on the link to view it.