In terms of impressive comebacks inside the Octagon, few in recent memory are better than Anthony Pettis’s come-from-behind win in his welterweight debut Saturday, which saw the former lightweight champion execute a superman punch to knock out Stephen Thompson at UFC Nashville.
“Showtime” came into the fight as a heavy underdog against his much bigger opponent and was being outclassed on the feet by Thompson before landing the devastating punch that sent his opponent crashing to the canvas.
Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, who was Octagon-side for the stunning come-from-behind victory, said Pettis executed his gameplan to perfection considering the size advantage he gave up by moving up to the 170 pound division (transcribed via MMAFighting.com):
“Pettis was a +385 underdog, huge underdog. I loved his gameplan from the beginning,” White said. “I’m assuming -- I don’t know this -- [coach] Duke Roufus studied ‘Wonderboy’ and the way that he jumps with his karate movement, it’s hard to block leg kicks, so he started busting up the legs early, both legs, on the outside, on the inside, to try to slow him down so he could punch with him.
“Think about this,” White continued, “Anthony Pettis, who was 155 and moved up to 170, was able to do what [Tyron Woodley] couldn’t do twice. I mean, that’s pretty impressive. And I’m not ragging on Tyron, which is going to be the thing that comes out of this, but what Pettis did tonight is unbelievable against a bigger [opponent]. Look at the size difference with these two tonight.”
The knockout brought the masses out on social media with a number of Pettis’ peers hugely impressed by his performance. White was asked what is next for the former champ after taking out the No. 4-ranked Thompson.
“Listen, I like any matchup for him after what he did tonight,” White said. “Very impressive. A very impressive gameplan. He came in, he executed. ‘Wonderboy’ was busting him up in the first round, the second round. He kept his composure, stuck to [what] I’m assuming was the gameplan -- I don’t know that -- but he looked damn good tonight.”