Last night’s (Sat., April 23, 2016) UFC 197 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured the latest stop on a disappointing snide for former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who lost a one-sided decision to top striker Edson Barboza after “Junior” demolished his thigh and body with a nonstop assault of his vaunted kicks.
There was a time — and it wasn’t all that long ago — when it was Pettis who was feared for the creative, dangerous kicks and complimentary ground game that vaulted him to the lofty position of champion, and indeed, many thought (including high-profile sponsors like Reebok and Wheaties) he would be one of MMA’s top-ranked pound-for-pound fighters for years to come.
But three straight losses to champion Rafael dos Anjos, current title contender Eddie Alvarez, and now Barboza have “Showtime” on the edge of becoming irrelevant in the stacked UFC 155-pound landscape, an unthinkable avenue hardly one year ago.
It’s tough to say where “Showtime” goes now, but after a recent trip to Albuquerque’s Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA failed to produce a win for the reeling former champion, perhaps a full-time camp change from his longtime Roufusport is in order.
He may deserve a bit of a pass after fighting only top-ranked tests during his recent slide, but regardless, Pettis has to win and win soon if he wants to stay afloat at lightweight, and the going probably won’t get any easier from here on out. Exactly which direction should “Showtime” head next?