Needless to say, Anthony Pettis’ 2022 did not end the way he wanted it to.
After starting the PFL 2022 regular season strong with a win over Myles Price, Pettis dropped his second fight Stevie Ray, then lost an immediate rematch that eliminated him from the playoffs.
So when it comes to highlights in this past year, “My 2022, obviously the win in the first fight in the PFL, going out there and getting the first-round finish. I felt that that was something I was shooting for,” Pettis told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “I broke my hand in that fight, so the rest of the season I had a broken hand, and it was just one of those frustrating moments in my career, as a professional, as a fighter myself, having to fight, and in the PFL you can’t take time off. You go from fight to fight to fight.”
“So literally I had to go to the next fight with a broken hand, fight Stevie Ray with a broken hand.”
That resulted in being submitted by Ray, after which Pettis headed to the finals in New York City, in a rematch with Ray that went the distance. “I thought I had a great performance, but again, fighting with a compromised hand, two compromised hands in that fight, was frustrating as a professional.”
Pettis has spent the remainder of the year wearing the promoter’s hat for his own Anthony Pettis FC, which aired its third event this past weekend on UFC Fight Pass. As for how the season played out, he’s taking it in stride.
“It’s part of the game. The wins and losses come. It’s just all about who’s better than night, for that five minutes at a time,” explained the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion. “We literally live our lives five minutes at a time, and whatever happens, the world sees, and we have to right our wrongs if we lose, or continue doing what we’re doing if we win.”
Stevie Ray vs. Olivier Aubin Mercier
Pettis is uniquely qualified to speak on the PFL 2022 World Championship lightweight final, having shared the cage with Stevie Ray twice.
Ray is set to take on Olivier Aubin-Mercier for the million dollar purse, a fighter Pettis is also familiar with, as the two were contemporaries in the UFC before both moved to the PFL.
“I thought Stevie Ray, before I was fighting Stevie Ray, I wouldn’t say I wrote him off, but I was like ‘I’ve got the skillset to beat this guy.’ He dug deep, he was using the right moments, he used his wrestling very well, took my back,” Pettis said of the Scottish fighter. “He’s a pretty smart fighter and he has a well-rounded skillset.”
As for the Canadian, “Mercier is honestly very, very good this season, it’s hard to go against him. I think the odds are like 2-to-1 Mercier, but I would say I think Stevie Ray will surprise some people. I think he’s going to dig deep, he’s fighting for his family.”
After the PFL wraps up its 2022 season on November 25, it will be on to next year. On that front, things are still in limbo when it comes to Pettis. Asked whether he will take part in the season format, or like Kayla Harrison focus on individual fights on Pay-Per-View, Pettis admitted that no decision had been made.
“I’m not sure yet honestly. I’m letting the season play out. Obviously they’re busy with this season here, before we go in there and figure out what’s next year for me,” Pettis said. “I actually just got married last weekend, so I’m starting to appreciate that. It’s a long time coming, my wife’s an amazing woman, she waited for me for this long. We were engaged for like six years, so we finally actually got married, it feels good to be on that side of it.”
Pettis has also been cleared to start training again, having healed up from those hand injuries. “Next week when I get back to Vegas, I’ll get right back to work. I’m going to take it slow, I don’t want to rush into things and try to book a fight. I want to get my body feeling right, and see how it feels again.”
Watch our full interview with PFL star Anthony Pettis above.