If someone considers a fight “make or break” to their career, you’d think they’d prioritize watching footage of their opponent and studying their tendencies. Not for Anthony Pettis.
He faces Charles Oliveira on Saturday night on Fox, a big fight for Pettis, who has lost three fights in a row. He was 18-2 before losing to Rafael dos Anjos last year and Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza this year.
“I haven’t even watched tape on this guy,” he said on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” this week. “I didn’t want to concern myself with him. I did that for my last few fights and it made me second guess myself. Now I just concentrate on what I have to do. I actually watched my own fights to get ready.”
He said he feels pressure going into this fight because of his three straight losses, all three of which went to the scorecards, one of which was a split decision (Alvarez). “Every fight is most important fight of your career,” he said. “But this is one of those fights that can make it and break it.”
He has moved to the 145 weight division. “I’m in this to be a champ,” he said. “I lost to Eddie Alvarez, who’s champ now. At 145, I have a whole new path, a whole new division of guys I can potenitally get matched up with. I can make the weight, it just made sense to go down there and try it out. A two division champ sounds good to me.” It’s a division led by none other than Conor McGregor. Oliveira is ranked no. 9 in the Featherweight Division in MMATorch’s latest rankings. Pettis is also ranked no. 9, but in his previous weight division, Lightweight.
Pettis is still training with Duke Roufus, although he has worked with Greg Jackson, too. “I still train with Duke Roufus,” he said. “I’ve gone to Jackson’s for sparring and bodies, and Greg Jackson is a wizard for game plans. I still have my daughter at home. But I only go to Jackson’s for a few weeks at a time. I get some different sparring partners and it clears my mind.”
(WK Analysis: You can’t rule out a 29 year old who just 18 months ago had an 18-2 record and has only lost to high level fighters on judges’ scorecards since. I’m not so sure about the strategy of not studying his opponent, though. If he can rack up two or three impressive wins against top ten contenders at Featherweight, and Conor McGregor starts defending his title successfully, that could be a fun and marketable fight for UFC and its fans down the line.)
VIDEO: Interview: Pettis prepared to make his UFC featherweight debut