“I just learned that the top position is a huge position to win from. You don’t get beat up. I’m 100-percent healthy. I won the fight. I don’t have injuries. I can go back to train tonight. Top position is important, and I really went back and focused on making that more of a part of my game… You look at the UFC lightweight division, the top guys are all wrestlers. Me being a striker, I don’t fit into that picture. I need to adjust my game to fit in with the top-level guys in the UFC. By no means am I only going to hold people down and try to win fights. I’m still going for my bread-and-butter, which is knockouts, but fighting a guy like Jeremy Stephens, you don’t want to stay in the pocket with that guy too long…you’ll still see [the flashy moves], but it’s going to be limited. I have to be careful. I have to win fights. If I want to be a champ, I need to win fights.”
After a promised title shot against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II disappeared due to a New Years day draw on the judges’ scorecards, Anthony Pettis was left holding a title (WEC) with absolutely zero meaning.
He could have waited it out, sat on the shelf for over a year for Maynard and Edgar to finish their business but instead he chose to stay active and worry about a title unification bout later.
His attempt failed when the UFC matchmaking department put him opposite Clay Guida for his UFC debut. Clay took the fight to the ground repeatedly and used top control and wrestling to gut out a unanimous decision against the highly hyped Pettis. As a result, the Pettis era ended up being just a short lived WEC 52 moment in the last round of the last fight for the promotion.
Pettis as he tells it to sherdog.com, has reinvented his game to compete with the upper level fighters that are now his co-workers. With Ben Askren at the helm, Pettis plans on improving and using his wrestling to do what is needed to be done to win fights and climb his way back to the top of the division.
Will it work? Will he be able to thwart off the relentless takedowns of the divisions elite and implement a similar strategy of his own to win? Or will the man who delivered “The kick heard around the world” fade off into the sunset with his brightest moment behind him?