Diego Ferreira is days out from arguably the biggest fight of his career. He will take on Anthony Pettis in the UFC 246 pay-per-view opener this Saturday in Las Vegas. With a win, the Brazilian might just enter the lightweight rankings.
Although Pettis, who is the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion is a big name, this was not an opponent Ferreira expected to get. Instead, he originally asked for Alexander Hernandez, but is happy with the Pettis matchup.
“This is what the UFC offered. The only fight I asked for was Alex Hernandez, but that never happened. So the UFC offered me Pettis and it is a good fight,” Ferreira told BJPENN.com. “He is a challenge and is really known and used to be the champion. He’s a great fighter and I looked up to him at the beginning of my career. It is awesome, and I’m super excited to be fighting him.”
Against Pettis, Diego Ferreira knows he has to bring his A-game and be the best he has ever been if he wants to get his hand raised. And, to do that, he believes he needs to bring this fight into deep waters and want it more than “Showtime.”
“I think it will come down to who is more hungry, who wants it more. Knockout power is something we both have, and I’m expecting to get cut in this fight and I want to go through three hard rounds with him. That is how it is going to play out,” Ferreira said. “We are going to put everything on the line and who wants it more is going to win.
“I think we will hit the ground, also. I just feel like we will test out each other’s ground game and I will always look for the submission,” he added. “No matter if I am on the top or the bottom I’m always looking for the finish.”
To get the finish, Ferreira believes he needs to be use pressure and not let Pettis set up his kicks and movement.
“Yeah, I have to put my pressure. He is a good fighter, he moves around, likes to kick. I have to not let him move around, just put the pressure and smoother him,” he said. “Put him into the clinch, takedowns and work my jiu-jitsu”
Meanwhile, for Ferreira, to open a Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone pay-per-view is a big opportunity. He knows a lot of people will be watching so he is looking to capitalize on the extra fan attention.
“It is really exciting. I’m a big fan of Cowboy as I’ve looked up to him and having McGregor headlining it, adds to it. So it is awesome to be on the card, there is going to be so many eyes,” he said. “I’m so excited and it making me motivated more than ever because I want to look sharp, I want to look good and put on a show for my fans. I can’t wait to step in the Octagon.”
Not only is he fighting on a McGregor pay-per-view, and fighting a former champ, but the card actually goes down on Ferreira’s birthday, which he says makes this his a great birthday present.
“Oh yeah, that is a big present for me. Fighting in Vegas and then fight a big name like Anthony Pettis, that is my present,” he said. “Now, I just need to go there and get the win.”
Ferreira believes a win will get him ranked and start off a successful 2020 that could end with him in the top-10 or top-5.
“My 2020, is to have as many fights as I can. I don’t think about fighting for the belt yet. I don’t want to fight for the belt yet,” Ferreira concluded. “Look, I want to fight the top guys at lightweight and work my way up. Just fight as much as I can and fight the badass fighters and that is what I’m looking to do in 2020.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Diego Ferreira vs. Anthony Pettis at UFC 246?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/13/2020.