EXCLUSIVE | Sergio Pettis expects title shot with win over Benavidez, explains why he’s trouble for “Mighty Mouse”

Sergio Pettis, RIZIN, Nobuyuki Sakakibara

Sergio Pettis now his crosshairs locked firmly on two-time UFC flyweight title challenger Joseph Benavidez, who he’ll meet at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago.

Though this is one of the toughest tests of his career thus far, the younger Pettis brother is confident its a fight he can win.

“I think Benavidez is going to try to test the stand up game a little bit,” Pettis said of this fight on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “And that’s where I feel I’m very strong at, my stand-up has definitely got people questioning themselves, making them want to take me down and put me down, instead of a strike on me, but I think Benavidez is going to be the opposite. I think he’s going to go out there and play the game with me, I think we’re going to give the fans what they want. A flyweight war.”

“I don’t think that [Benavidez’s] layoff is going to play very well at all,” he continued. “I think he can come out there and play it the way he usually plays. He’s going to come, push the pace, different angles, weird movement, and I think he’s going to be the exact same fighter just –– I think he’ll have a little bit more of a chip on the shoulder when it coming to trying to knock my head off, [to] prove something.”

If Pettis does defeat Benavidez at UFC 225, he expects to earn his long-awaited shot at dominating UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. And he feels he brings something to the table that the champ doesn’t see very often.

“Obviously, my goal right now is Benavidez,” Pettis said. “I am looking towards that right now instead of looking towards DJ. DJ’s got a another fight to worry about I believe with TJ [Dillashaw] or whatever. [If] they’re giving it to him next. But I think I do bring a different style to the table for DJ man. I feel like he has a little bit of trouble with the longer fighters, and I think that’s where I am, I’m a longer guy. I am very, very educated in the striking game and I think that’s where it’s a little different. He fought a lot of guys who are going to wrestle him, I’m going to go out there are try to strike with him. I think I have enough clean technique and clean striking and enough education to be able to do that.”

How do you think Sergio Pettis matches up with Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/1/2018.