Anthony Pettis believes he was in too much of a rush during his 2016 skid. That is going to change, according to the former UFC lightweight champ.
Anthony Pettis plans on taking his time moving forward.
After losing his 155-pound belt in 2015 to Rafael dos Anjos, Showtime wanted to get back in the title mix as soon as possible. So he fought four times last year, but it didn’t work out as planned. He ultimately rushed himself into too many fights and subsequently experienced mixed results.
Losses to Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza in the first half of 2016 led to him dropping down to featherweight, where he recorded a record of 1-1. He tapped out Charles Oliveira in his 145-pound debut, but looked drained from a difficult weight cut. And even more so in his next outing, an interim UFC title fight against Max Holloway in the UFC 206 main event last December. The former UFC lightweight champ missed weight ahead of the event, lost the fight by TKO, and announced his return to 155 pounds shortly thereafter.
“I was rushing for my title shot,” Pettis told ESPN.com. “I was right there at 145 pounds and still in the running at 155. I think it was rough on my body. I had a lot of injuries I needed to heal up and I wasn’t healing them up. I was just going right to the next camp.”
Four months later, Pettis has learned his lesson. He knows he can’t rush himself into fights anymore. The Roufusport product is hoping to step back inside the Octagon this summer, giving himself more than enough time to train, prepare, and get better.
“I’m going to take my time at 155 pounds. I was in a rush to get back into title contention. Everybody I fought besides (Charles) Oliveira was a No. 1 contender or a former champion. I’m going to go back to the 155-pound division, work my way back to the top and see how far I can take it again.”
The UFC lightweight division is stacked from top to bottom, but Pettis was able to pick out a few names he’d like to fight next — one being gritty veteran Jim Miller.
“I was looking to get Jim Miller,” he said. “He was the only guy not booked, besides (Michael) Johnson. I let my management take care of who I’m fighting, but there’s Miller, Johnson, Nate Diaz. There’s a bunch of guys out there I’d like to fight.”