The flyweight took a leap of faith by leaving the UFC after fulfilling his contract to become a free agent. Shortly thereafter, he revealed that he had signed with Bellator in a decision that took him from panic to excitement.
“I put myself out there, and Bellator put out a great opportunity,” he said. “This will be the next step for me. (But) the UFC will always be my home.
“I’ll always have love for the UFC. I loved growing up there, but sometimes when you grow up you’ve got to leave home and live other places. I feel like the Bellator division is deep. I’m a scuba diver out here exploring new waters. I’m going for gold.”
Pettis made his UFC debut in 2013 and tallied 9 wins over fighters including Joseph Benavidez. His brother, Anthony Pettis, is still signed to the UFC and last fought “BMF” contender Nate Diaz at UFC 241. The Pettis brothers have close ties to the organization but the young feels he has made the right move for his career.
“It was an offer I didn’t want to refuse, and the vibe just felt right,” Pettis said. “This was the right decision to make looking back now. For a little bit, I was scared to leave the UFC because I grew up there.
“It was like, ‘Damn, man. I feel like I’m leaving home.’ I had to do this for me and my future. I’m excited. I’m excited to go out there and put on the performance that I’m capable of doing. Nothing changes, just the organization.”
Part of the decision to walk away from the UFC was the uncertainty of the future of the 125-pound men’s flyweight division. Now Pettis can sink his teeth into a new division with fresh talent. As a member of the Bellator 135-pound roster, Pettis plans on working towards a championship fight.
“The uncertainty was what scared me,” Pettis said. “I was high up in that division. All of a sudden, it just completely disintegrated. I’m like, ‘Dang, I don’t want to deal with that again.’ That really put me in a dark place. This is the right opportunity and was the right decision to make.”
“I’m gonna fight them all. Whoever’s talking. Who wants to fight me? I’m here to fight them. Whatever names they put in front of me. I don’t refuse fights. I’m not scared of anybody.”
Sergio Pettis’ official Bellator debut hasn’t been announced yet, but stay tuned for updates.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/7/2019.