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How a chance encounter with ‘Cowboy’ helped the Pettis brothers find new fire at Jackson-Winkeljohn

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LAS VEGAS — For better or worse, the wickedness of the fight game tends to show itself in waves. Just ask Anthony Pettis. A little over a year ago, Pettis was the guy in the UFC lightweight division. The guy on the Wheaties boxes. The guy with the portfolio that oozed star potential. The guy who looked good in gold. But then came his back-to-back losses — a first for an otherwise brilliant career — and suddenly Pettis was just another guy, one among many gifted but incomplete talents jockeying for space within the sport’s most crowded division.

In retrospect, Pettis knew after the second of those losses — a listless decision against Eddie Alvarez — that something had to change. In a game where creativity is king, nine years spent retracing the same steps can make even the best minds grow stale. But this? An eight-day USO tour across the world alongside old rival Donald Cerrone leading to a major career redesign? Yeah, Pettis never expected this.

But wouldn’t you know it, something about riding sidecar with a straight shooter like “Cowboy” tends to play funny tricks on a mind stuck in the mud.

By the trip’s end, any lingering animosity from the time Pettis nearly kicked a hole through Cerrone’s torso was gone, so Cerrone invited Pettis out to New Mexico for a few days of friendly sparring at Jackson-Winkeljohn. Somehow a three-day stay turned into a three-week retreat.

Before Pettis knew what hit him, Albuquerque was starting to look awfully lovely as a potential second home.

“I met the coaching staff, I met the team, and man, I just loved it,” Pettis told MMA Fighting. “It was just an environment where I could feel like I could get better and grow. In Milwaukee, I feel like I can definitely ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting