UFC 241: Anthony Pettis Admits He Fights Best With Some Animosity, But Nate Diaz Isn’t Doing His Part

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Anthony Pettis tackled a wide range of subjects at the UFC 241 media day on Thursday, including the lack of animosity between himself and Nate Diaz, and a certain Conor McGregor video making the rounds.

Anaheim, CA — There’s all sort of angles to examine Pettis vs. Diaz at UFC 241 from. The return of Nate Diaz, after three years away, and how he might look. The second act of Anthony Pettis, just starting, at welterweight. The company guy vs. the career-long rebel. Probably a half-dozen others.

Pettis touched on a lot of them at Thursday’s UFC 241 media day, and managed to give his thoughts on Conor McGregor’s latest incident as well, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.

First up, the matter of the weight cut. Or the lack of one. “I woke up on weight. It’s just two days away. I’m waiting for my time to shine,” Pettis said. What’s different now, from his lightweight days, is “my mindset going into these trainings. I actually had energy to train. I wasn’t putting off sparring so I could run for miles to make weight. I was training, I was winning rounds, I was winning my jiu-jitsu rounds.”

Fighting at 170lbs just seems to have created a happier, more engaged Anthony Pettis, compared to the 155lb Pettis of old. More focused as well. “My mindset was win everything, and that’s what happened in this camp. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done that.”

Whether it’s time to have all fighters moving toward their natural weight class was a question that gave Pettis pause. “The sport’s so young that I feel like we’re going through these phases. This phase right now, where we’re just at, the guys are cutting a lot of weight. So to compete, you have to cut weight. Especially with this rule set. These guys are holding you down for 15 minutes. Not necessarily a better fighter, but he’s stronger than me, he’s bigger than me, he’s holding me down. That’s where a lot of that comes from I think, the weight cut.”

Pettis was front and center at the UFC 241 media day. Nate Diaz, notably, was not, skipping the outing entirely. No hard feelings on Pettis’ part, despite Diaz getting to forgo his media obligations. “This is my 32nd professional fight, most of my fights are in the UFC, without doing this I’d feel weird. This has to be part of it. I don’t even have a weight cut tonight, so I’d be in my room just sitting around doing nothing.”

“We don’t have to do these media days,” he added. Not entirely true, as skipping media obligations can lead to sanction from the UFC. But as Pettis noted, it’s all about exposure for fighters. “This is for us to get our side out, to get you guys some questions and answers. Our job is to fight on Saturday. I’m prepared, I’m confident, so I can come here and sit down and talk to you guys.”

Those around Pettis believe he’s at his best when he has animosity with his opponent. Pettis agreed with that assertion Thursday, saying that he had “embarrassed” past opponents who had talked trash to him, including Cowboy Cerrone and Michael Chiesa.

Any feud with Nate Diaz, however, seems to have fizzled. “It’s weird because Nate’s not doing that. Nate’s not here, he’s not doing his normal antics. So I’m pulling back from them emotions, and I know what I have to do in there. I’m going to go in there and just stay true to my game plan, and give you guys a f*cking show.”

A show might be all it is. Asked about the title picture, Pettis suggest that “I think I’m already there. Diaz isn’t the factor of that. Wonderbody was the factor of that. Diaz is a fun fight.”

Pettis feels the change in tone from Diaz may have come in part because Diaz got his fights with McGregor. No longer could he be jealous of the first UFC fighter to grace the Wheaties box.

Speaking of McGregor, video of a previously reported incident from back in April had made the rounds Thursday. In it, the Irish star is seen striking an elderly man at a pub in Ireland. Pettis wasn’t about to pass judgment, however.

“I just want to know what the guy said, honestly,” Pettis said when the subject was brought up. “Obviously don’t hit people in the face, but honestly I am a fighter, and I know how drunk people treat us. It’s crazy. We’re so accessible to people, we’re not like NBA, NFL athletes where we have this huge entourage. UFC puts us out in front of everybody. We walk through this lobby, we’re pretty popular, pretty famous.”

Pettis, for his part, was at least somewhat understanding. “If someone does that to me they’re getting smacked. I don’t care.”

“I’m a man, and I’m a fighter. These guys think that they can come and talk to us certain ways,” he added. “Not saying I support fighting someone outside the octagon, but who knows what he said to get smacked.”

Watch the full UFC 241 media day press scrum with former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis above!

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