Andre Petroski made the first episode of the 29th edition of The Ultimate Fighter one to watch. The Daniel Gracie disciple used his punishing wrestling style and slick submissions to score a guillotine victory and set the tone for the whole show. However, a slip up in the semifinals against Bryan Battle cost him a chance at winning the show.
Still, given his performances and the prior practice of the show, it stood to reason that Petroski would get a shot on the finale. Until about a week ago, that wasn’t the case.
“I did [think I’d get a UFC fight] at first. Then I saw that they announced the finale was on August 28th and it looked like the card was full. So then I talked to my manager and we were kind of on the same page, like hey, that doesn’t look good,” Petroski said. “I stay in the gym – we stay training all the time. It’s just not the same thing as being in camp.”
After seemingly giving up on getting that UFC call, he received a call from a Texas number and uncharacteristically answered it. Luckily, it just happened to be one of the most important voices from the UFC.
“He calls me from a random number and to be honest I would usually never answer that phone call. It was a number from Texas,” he said. “I answer it and he’s like ‘ Hey, it’s Mick Maynard. Just wanted to know if you could make weight next week’. Yeah, of course. Then he was like ‘okay, I’ll be in touch.”
Although it seemed justified that he got that call, Petroski didn’t believe it. He and his manager had resigned themselves to taking a fight on the regional scene or hoping for the Contender Series. It seemed so out of place, that Petroski thought it was fake.
“I got off the phone and I thought that’s definitely a prank phone call,” Petroski laughed. “Why is he calling me and not my manager, first off? And second off, it was just so random because I wasn’t expecting it.”
But it wasn’t a prank. Instead it actually was the UFC’s matchmaker assuring that Petroski could fill a slot at the finale after all. Now in the middle of fight week, Petroski says he still hasn’t had time to let all that sink in.
“It’s almost like I haven’t taken a moment to stop and appreciate the moment,” he said.
Despite all the craziness leading up to it, Petroski is sure he’ll be ready to take home the ‘W’. You can see Petroski’s UFC debut against Michael Gillmore on the main card of UFC Vegas 35 this weekend. That fight will air on both ESPN and ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 44:08.