Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is at the top of the standings in the league’s lightweight division this season — which has him one step closer to his goal this year.
“This season’s all about redemption,” Pettis explained during Wednesday’s PFL 5 media day, asked what keeps him fighting in 2022. “Last year didn’t go my way. And I still love this sport, I think this sport is something that I was born to do, fighting is something that I was born to do. And knowing that I didn’t give it my all last season, it didn’t go my way, this season’s all about redemption for me, man. I’m trying to go out there and get this third belt.”
Pettis (25-12) lost both of his fights in 2021, after signing with the PFL as a high-profile free agent. Leaving the UFC off a pair of wins, many saw Pettis as a shoo-in as lightweight champ. It clearly didn’t happen according to plan, but for Pettis, it’s not a matter of motivation — the sport is simply evolving.
“I don’t think motivation’s ever been an issue for me. I train hard, I’ve always trained hard. It’s just, the game’s changing,” Pettis stated. “Guys are getting better. Especially this format, this format is totally different than anything I was used to.”
He’s changed up his approach for 2022. “I treated last year like one of my old fights. I would do a two month training camp, have as much time as I needed off, and go back to another training camp. But in this format, that’s not how it works. You’ve got to do the bulk of the training early in the season, because this really is a season format. I’m fighting again in six weeks, so you’ve got to be smart with your approach to these fights and how you train for these fights.”
The PFL’s 2022 regular season continues on Friday, and sees Anthony Pettis face Stevie Ray, a fellow UFC vet. “He actually fought my teammate, Paul Felder. So Duke Roufus [coach] has some experience cornering against him already, and kind of game planning for him,” Pettis said of the match-up. “He wasn’t on my radar in the UFC, just because of where I was at, I don’t think he was top 10 at that time, when I was in the top 10. But anything can happen, man. He’s here now, and he’s in front of me.”
Watch the full PFL 5 media day appearance by Anthony Pettis above. The event takes place this Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, GA.