Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis discusses his decision to stop cutting weight to ensure he could fight Max Holloway at UFC 206 and his upcoming return to the lightweight division.
Anthony Pettis had two options ahead of his UFC 206 interim featherweight title fight with Max Holloway last December when his weight cut went south.
Instead of continuing to cut weight, risking being too unfit to fight, the former UFC lightweight champion stopped cutting to ensure he’d be healthy enough to compete, even though it meant he wouldn’t be eligible to win the interim title.
Pettis would lose to Holloway by third-round TKO in Toronto, but “Showtime” still believes he made the right choice.
“[Not fighting] wasn’t an option,” Pettis told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (transcription via MMAFighting.com). “They made us the main event. That would have ruined that card, so that wasn’t an option, you know?”
Pettis was in terrible condition leading up to the fight. A condition most fighters would not have fought in, he believes.
“I couldn’t even walk down to the scale,” he said. “I had to drink water and put some [liquid] into my body to walk down, weigh-in for the fight. Most guys probably wouldn’t have fought. I’m not making excuses, but most guys wouldn’t have fought the way I was feeling. The UFC doc was up there watching me and I couldn’t even walk downstairs to get on the scale.”
The 30-year-old soon after decided that featherweight wasn’t for him and that he’d return to 155 pounds after the bout with “Blessed.” Pettis racked up a 1-1 record at 145 pounds. In his divisional debut, he tapped out Charles Oliveira. Not much was different in the lead-up to that fight — he still had a tough time hitting the weight limit.
Pettis, who is set to meet Jim Miller at UFC 213 in early July, is happy to be back in his natural weight class. He said he was focused too much on the weight cut while fighting at featherweight, not allowing himself to improve. Back at lightweight, that will all change.
“That whole camp [for Holloway] was just me cutting weight,” Pettis said. “It wasn’t me getting better, it wasn’t me trying to get new game plans. It was really just me cutting weight. I had to run double the amount. I had to do less physical activity, because I was too weak. But it is what is. You live and you learn.”
Pettis has many accomplishments in mixed martial arts, from his crazy knockout wins to capturing the UFC 155-pound championship four years ago and defending it once. His career has been up and down since losing the title to Rafael dos Anjos in March 2015, but Pettis said that missing weight ahead of UFC 206 was the low point of his fighting career.
“Most definitely,” he said. “Missing weight is one of those things that you never want to happen.”