Anthony Pettis wasn’t in danger of getting cut from the UFC.
Amid a number of recent releases from the promotion, Pettis was a big name to depart the UFC as he would sign with the PFL. It followed right after the last fight of his contract where he outpointed Alex Morono at UFC Vegas 17 last month.
However, the former lightweight champion was actually offered a new contract with the UFC. That said, he wanted a change of scenery and the PFL provided that.
“I wasn’t getting cut,” Pettis told MMA Fighting. “I wasn’t on the chopping block, I had an offer from the UFC. But that offer was like putting me back in the same rat race I’ve been in, if you will. I’ve been in that rat race. I know I was going down to 155, everybody’s trying to get that belt again. There’s some names in front of me. It would have been fun to go back and take care of some guys that I know I could have beaten and that I lost to, but when I made this decision I took all that emotion away from it.
“I took away trying to be a champion in the UFC, trying to come back from losses that I had, rematches that I wanted. What makes sense for my career? What makes sense for Anthony Pettis right now? It didn’t take long. I knew what my goals were and these guys are giving me a format for it.”
The PFL’s tournament format certainly helps as Pettis only needs a couple of wins to earn the promotion’s lightweight title in December this year. There’s also the added bonus of a $1 million prize as well as becoming the face of the promotion.
But even with all the benefits, signing with the PFL was still nerve-wracking for “Showtime” who spent so much of his career with the UFC.
“It was probably one of the most nervous days of my life,” Pettis said. “It was making a big decision. Like I’ve said, the UFC’s been nothing but great to me. I’ve had the best opportunities, I’ve gotten treated very, very well in the UFC, taken care of very, very well. Great opportunities. I grew up under them lights, them gloves are part of my life.
“Then deciding that I’m going to go see what’s next, the next part of my career, the next chapter of my career, turning the page onto the next part of my career, I was nervous. I still am nervous. Anything could happen.”
The 2021 PFL season commences April 23 where Pettis along with a number of other big names in MMA will make their official promotional debuts.
Do you think Pettis made the right move?