Los Angeles, CA — Sergio Pettis’ move to Bellator MMA late last year was a bit of a shocker. The UFC flyweight, younger brother of former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, seemed like a lock to stick around the octagon, if not at 125lbs than up at bantamweight.
After fighting out his contract, however, Pettis (18-5) signed on with Bellator. He makes his promotional debut this weekend at Bellator 238. Fighting at 135lbs, since Bellator lacks a flyweight division.
A lot is on the line. Any number of big-name fighters have struggled when moving to new homes. Former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson in Bellator comes to mind. Eddie Alvarez, a former Bellator and UFC lightweight champ, was stopped in his tracks in his ONE Championship debut. In the UFC, Ben Askren’s perfect record came crashing down in five seconds.
Switching promotions is never a sure thing, in other words. Plus, Pettis makes his debut just a week after elder brother Anthony lost his return to the UFC’s lightweight division, at UFC 246.
Yet while it might be tempting to go out and “get one back” for the family, Pettis told Cageside Press on Thursday that “I’m not worried about any of that sh*t.”
“A lot of people think about that before their fights,” he admitted. But for the Pettis brothers, “it’s his career, my career is different.”
Or, as he then added, “we’re a team, but it’s an individual sport.”
“Sucks to see that, but it is what it is. He’s come off of my fights where I’ve lost, and he’s knocked some motherf*ckers out,” Sergio Pettis continued. “I’ve won fights where he lost, and I lost the fight after. It’s just the wave of the sport, it’s what happens when you fight the best of the best.”
Anthony will be in L.A. for his brothers fight this weekend, however. It’s a massive fight, after all. The timing is perfect for a veteran fighter to establish themselves in the weight class, given the 135lb title was recently vacated by Kyoji Horiguchi. The division’s previous champion, Darrion Caldwell, is currently active a weight class up, in the featherweight grand prix.
Pettis isn’t about to take his eyes of his goal Saturday, mind you. “I’m not worried about right now. I’m a very present individual,” he explained. “All I’m worried about is Alfred [Khashakyan]. I’m worried about getting that W, and worried about my performance this Saturday. Anything else that happens after that, is based off my performance this Saturday.”
Pettis has pondered some possibilities, however. If Bellator opened up a flyweight division, he’d be interested. “If it’s a thing that happens in the future,” said Pettis, then it’s a “possibility.”
“I can make 125, I can make 35, if I have to, I’ll fight at 45,” he stated. “Where ever they put me, I’m just going to go out and have some fun. There’s no expectations out here, just having some fun and getting some W’s.”
Heading into 2020, it’s the W’s that are the goal. “That’s literally all I worry about. I’m not worried about the paychecks, I’m not worried about what the fans think about me, or what the media thinks of me. None of that matters to me,” Pettis exclaimed. “All I’m worried about at the end of the day is myself. Because at the end of the day, no one really gives a sh*t about you. So I’m focused on myself.”
Having fun, and getting those W’s, he reiterated.
As for his opponent, Alfred Khashakyan, Pettis observed that “he lives and dies by the sword. He’s going to go in there and try to knock my ass out. He’s got 11 wins by knockout. I feel like he’s going to go in there and think he can do that to me. But I’m a whole different fighter than he’s fought, I’m a whole different level. I’m going to show him that.”
Sergio Pettis makes his Bellator debut this weekend at Bellator 238 in Los Angeles, CA. The fight airs live on DAZN.