LAS VEGAS — Anthony Pettis’ dalliance with the UFC featherweight division is over, and he believes he’s ready to be Showtime again.
Pettis lasted just two fights in the 145-pound ranks, and the turning point seemingly happened in December, when he became the first fighter to miss weight for a championship bout in nine years. Pettis fought Max Holloway at a catchweight at UFC 206 but not for the belt, and he lost on a third-round TKO.
Pettis’ move to featherweight was in response to his three-fight losing streak at lightweight, where he had been the champion from 2013 to 2015. Now he’s back at 155 pounds, where he’ll fight Jim Miller on Saturday night at UFC 213.
“I wasn’t used to losing,” Pettis told NESN.com’s Rachel Holt on Thursday at UFC 213 media day. “I mean, in my whole career, I lost one time before that (losing streak). … So it was a hard time.
“I just got to figure out what’s the error I’m making that’s making the results this way. And I’m fighting the best in the world. I’m fighting champions, I’m fighting No. 1 contenders, but I consider myself the best in the world, so it was a hard time for me. I just had to go back to the drawing board and just keep re-inventing myself.”
From Miller’s perspective, Pettis’ switch back to lightweight isn’t a concern.
“For me, it doesn’t change anything,” Miller told Holt. “He’s Anthony Pettis, he’s a former champion, he’s a dangerous striker. We’ll see if it affects him or doesn’t affect him inside the octagon. I’m not concerned about those things have an effect. I know his skill set, I know my skill set, so I’m just looking to impose my will on him.”
One difference, Pettis said, is that he now can spend more time on technical aspects of his game at lightweight.
“Two camps at 145, I couldn’t actual train martial arts,” he said. “I was just cutting weight the whole time. Being back at (155), I actually got to do martial arts again and enjoy this process.”
Returning in the win column Saturday certainly would go a long way toward raising Pettis’ enjoyment level.
Thumbnail photo via Joshua Dahl/USA TODAY Sports Images