By: Chris Taylor
I was fortunate enough to catch up with UFC lightweight top contender Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis this weekend. Pettis, who is coming off a big victory over Joe Lauzon at UFC 144, is looking to prove that he is the real #1 contender in the lightweight division. Here is our conversation:
Chris: Hey what’s up! It’s Chris Taylor here for bjpenn.com, on the line I have none other than Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis! Anthony thanks for taking the time, how are you doing today?
Anthony: I’m good man, thanks for having me.
Chris: No problem, it’s good to talk to you again. First question I wanted to ask you is regarding the shoulder surgery you had earlier this year, are you fully recovered? I noticed on twitter that you said you were back hitting some pads with Duke Roufus.
Anthony: Ya no, I’m not fully healed up, and I am not able to fully train yet either. I am just being able to exercise now. When I hurt my shoulder, I tore my labrum so I really couldn’t do any kind of cardio or anything. I couldn’t bounce at all because it would screw up the repairs they made. So I just got cleared to start doing some cardio workouts and some light stuff. I can’t really get back to camp or anything like that. My hopes are to be back by September 1st, that’s what I’m shooting for.
Chris: So you want to be back in action at UFC 151?
Anthony: Ya I want to fight September 1st!
Chris: Right on, so talking about your next fight, did you catch UFC on Fuel TV’s event this past Tuesday?
Anthony: Ya I did.
Chris: What did you think of the fight between Donald Cerrone and Jeremy Stephens?
Anthony: Cerrone looked awesome man, he dominated the fight! Stephens is a tough dude, I know that from fighting him and Cerrone went out there and made it look like a piece of cake. So ya, Cerrone looked awesome!
Chris: So is that a match-up that interests you? I know ‘Cowboy’ kind of put that idea out there. Initially he tried calling out Nate Diaz but later he showed interest in a possible fight with you, is that a match-up you would want?
Anthony: For me, I want to fight Nate Diaz! I mean I was promised a title shot a couple of times, they said it after my Lauzon win, you know that I was probably next in line. Then all of sudden Diaz comes out and he has a good performance against Jim Miller and I am forgotten about. So I mean I want to fight the guy that beat Cerrone and get the #1 contender spot. I’m looking for a title shot here in my next couple fights or you know one more win and then a title shot.
Chris: Well ya, I mean you have to figure that at worst you are 1 win away from a title shot right?
Anthony: Ya you know I feel that I am still the #1 contender and Nate Diaz comes down in weight beats Cerrone, and I mean Cerrone was on a bit of a tear but it wasn’t like he was beating top 10 guys. Then Diaz beats Jim Miller, who got that fight for beating Melvin Guillard, and I beat Joe Lauzon who also beat Melvin Guillard so I think we (Me and Diaz) are both right there. That’s why I want to clear things up and show everybody that I am the real #1 contender, so I want to fight Nate Diaz!
Chris: For sure and that makes sense to me. Is it safe to say you more than a little frustrated at this point? I mean you were supposed to fight for the title when the WEC merged, then Edgar and Maynard went to a draw forcing an immediate rematch, so you took a fight with Clay Guida. Since then you worked your way back up to top contender status, and now Edgar is rematching Benson Henderson. How frustrated are you?
Anthony: Ya I’m the guy that’s just kind of stuck you know, I’m right there to be at a title shot. It’s kind of my fault for taking the Guida fight, Guida didn’t finish me but he won the decision.
Chris: Ya and that was a very close fight.
Anthony: Ya you know he won the fight based on points but I was constantly attacking the whole time, and ya that’s in the past. Like I said, I feel I am the #1 contender and should be getting the next title shot and now Nate Diaz is the ‘supposed’ #1 contender so I think it makes sense for us to fight!
Chris: Ya I totally agree with that analysis and I think that is a fight the fans would love to see for sure!
Anthony: Ya that would definitely be a fan favorite.
Chris: On the topic of title shots, your Roufusport teammate, Erik ‘New Breed’ Koch is set to take on Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight strap at UFC 149, July 21st in Calgary, Alberta. What does Erik bring to the table that is different from previous opponents that have failed against Aldo? What will make him prevail in your opinion?
Anthony: Erik is just one of those guys that nobody knows to much about. You know he’s had a couple of dominating performances lately since his loss to Chad Mendes, which was very similar to how I lost to Clay Guida. In our camp, we have probably the best strikers in MMA. You know guys sleep on us because they don’t see much of us, Erik wasn’t that active last year. But Erik Koch is a beast man, he’s not a guy to sleep on! I mean I feel for sure that he’s going to do work against Aldo, especially if Aldo doesn’t take him seriously.
Chris: Ya no doubt, and Erik’s stand up is top notch so Calgary fans could be in for a stand up war!
Anthony: Ya I mean Erik is the kind of guy who is great everywhere, but you know he’s like me.. always looking for the knockout!
Chris: For sure and you won’t hear anyone arguing about that quality. So how is your younger brother Sergio doing? I wanted to ask you about him, I had the pleasure of seeing one of his first pro fights in my hometown of Winnipeg. A fight that Sergio won with a head kick knockout, and he just won again earlier this May to improve to 4-0 in his pro career?
Anthony: Ya it’s hard to keep track off all the guys records, but he’s something like 4-0 or 5-0 now, so ya he’s looking awesome man. He’s hungry, he’s young and he’s dedicating himself. He’s not looking for the easy route or anything like that. You know he’s putting the hard work in and it shows in his fights.
Chris: So what’s the plan for him next? Does he have another fight lined up?
Anthony: Ya he’s actually fighting for a Tachi Palace contract in Indiana coming up here on June 15th. He’s moving up to 135 and I think once he wins he gets a contract with Tachi Palace.
Chris: Awesome, so what’s your opinion, what’s the time table for Sergio making his UFC debut? I know he’s only 18 years old so maybe another year or two?
Anthony: Ya that’s what we are shooting for. We don’t want to rush him into it, we want to make sure he’s matured and that his body matures and that he is 100% ready to go. For me and for my whole team we don’t want jobs, we want careers, so we want to last in this sport.
Chris: Ya for sure, good stuff. I had some fans email in some questions here for the interview, one I thought you might get some humor out of was from Todd Pinkus who asks “Showtime does your footshin ever hurt after nearly kicking guys heads off their bodies?”
Chris: Probably referring to the kicks you landed on Danny Castillo or Joe Lauzon, but I’m curious to, are you walking funny the next day after laying an opponent out like that?
Anthony: I mean it doesn’t feel good the next day. I mean during the fight your adrenaline is pumping so you don’t really feel it then. But on that plane ride home you start feeling everything. But it’s better for my shin to hurt than my jaw to hurt, that’s what I always say. As long as it’s my shin with the other guy laying on the mat, then it’s all good.
Chris: Haha ya then it’s definitely all good. Adam Kolomaya wanted to know “Showtime have you developed any real dislike for Frankie Edgar due to him constantly getting rematches? Would you like to be the guy to ‘kick’ him down to the featherweight division?”
Anthony: Ya man I am definitely frustrated with all his rematches, it just keeps me stuck in one spot. But ya, if I got that chance I definitely think I would finish that fight! There wouldn’t be any rematches or reason for a rematch after that.
Chris: You obviously saw the fight between Frankie and Benson, what did you think? Was it that close that it warranted a rematch in your opinion?
Anthony: For me I think that if you lose a title fight, you should have to win at least one or two more fights before getting a rematch. I don’t think rematches should just be handed out all the time because it was a close fight. So ya I think it was a close fight but I don’t necessarily agree with the immediate rematch. But, everything happens for a reason so.
Chris: Well thanks for again for taking the time to talk with me here, I hope all the best for you in 2012! Hopefully you get this Nate Diaz fight and that all works out for you. Any last words from ‘Showtime’ for your fans or any shout outs?
Anthony: I want to thank all my fans that support me and for sticking with me while I recover from this surgery. I also want to thank all my sponsors Xyience, Toyo Tires and Headrush!
Chris: All right buddy hope you have a speedy recovery and we can’t wait to see you back inside the octagon!
Anthony: Alright you have a good night man thanks!
Be sure to follow Anthony Pettis on twitter @showtimepettis!
Tags: Anthony Pettis, benson henderson, Chad Mendes, Clay Guida, Danny Castillo, Donald Cerrone, Erik Koch, featured, Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Headrush, Jeremy Stephens, Jim Miller, Joe Lauzon, Jose Aldo, Melvin Guillard, MMA NEWS, nate diaz, sergio pettis, Toyo Tires, ufc 144, UFC 149, UFC 151, ufc news, UFC on Fuel, Xyience