Anthony Pettis in 2016
|Born||Anthony Paul Pettis|
January 27, 1987
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||171 lb (78 kg; 12.2 st)|
|Division||Welterweight (170 lbs) (2008, 2019–present)|
Lightweight (155 lbs) (2007–2016, 2017–2018, 2020)
Featherweight (145 lbs) (2016)
|Reach||72 1⁄2 in (184 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Rank||3rd dan black belt in Taekwondo |
Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Daniel Wanderley
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Notable relatives||Sergio Pettis (brother)|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Anthony Paul Pettis (born January 27, 1987) is an American professional mixed martial artist. He currently fights in the Welterweight and Lightweight divisions for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a former UFC Lightweight Champion. Pettis was also the final WEC Lightweight Champion prior to the promotion being merged into the UFC. As of November 16, 2020, he is #12 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
Pettis was born on January 27, 1987, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Annette (née Garcia) and Eugene Pettis Jr. He grew up in the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, along with his older brother, Reynaldo Pettis and younger brother, Sergio Pettis, who fights in the flyweight division. Pettis is of Puerto Rican and Mexican ancestry. His grandfather, Eugenio Pérez, Anglicized the family name from Pérez to Pettis to avoid discrimination. Pettis attended Dominican High School.
He started training taekwondo and boxing at the age of 5. In college he also started wrestling. When he went to train mixed martial arts at Roufusport at the age of 18, he had already a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo. He later trained in capoeira.
On November 12, 2003, Pettis' father was stabbed to death by a robber at a friend's house.
Mixed martial arts career
Anthony Pettis made his professional MMA debut in December 2007. He compiled a record of 8–0 in all fights being held by Adam Sandoval and Duke Roufus before debuting with the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), winning the Gladiator Fighting Series Lightweight Championship. His last fight before joining the WEC was a short notice welterweight bout. Pettis also has a professional kickboxing background. In MMA, Pettis is known[by whom?] for his smooth and technical fighting style, as well as his athletic feats and wide range of techniques.
Before joining the WEC, Pettis went to The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom tryouts, but didn't make it to the show.
World Extreme Cagefighting
Pettis was expected to make his promotional debut against Anthony Njokuani on April 5, 2009, at WEC 40. However, Pettis pulled out of the fight with a hand injury and was replaced by Bart Palaszewski.
Pettis made his WEC debut at WEC 41, where he defeated Mike Campbell via first round triangle choke.
Pettis rebounded from the loss with a head-kick KO victory over Danny Castillo on March 6 at WEC 47, earning Knockout of the Night honors. Training for the fight, as well as Pettis' family life, were both documented on an episode of the MTV show World of Jenks.
Pettis faced Shane Roller on August 18 at WEC 50. Pettis surprised many by taking down Roller multiple times and frustrating him with fast-paced scrambles. Pettis displayed diversity in his striking with two Capoeira kicks, the martelo and the aú batido. After several submission attempts, Pettis finally secured a fight ending triangle choke in the closing seconds of the fight, earning a Submission of the Night bonus.
His last WEC fight came against Benson Henderson on December 16 at WEC 53 for the WEC Lightweight Championship. The fight was closely contested throughout, providing back and forth action, both standing and on the ground. In the fifth round Pettis ran up the cage, jumped off the cage, then landed a switch kick while airborne. Sports reporters later named this the Showtime Kick. Pettis won the fight via unanimous decision (48–47, 49–46, 48–47) to become the final WEC Lightweight Champion. The fight was also awarded as Fight of the Night which won Henderson and Pettis an extra $10,000.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Pettis was expected to face the winner of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, which took place at UFC 125. However, the bout was declared a draw, and Edgar–Maynard 3 was scheduled for UFC 130, but both fighters sustained injuries before the fight, which was postponed.
Instead of waiting for the winner of Edgar/Maynard 3, Pettis faced Clay Guida on June 4 at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale. Despite repeatedly getting taken down by Guida, Pettis showed good defense off his back, controlling Guida's wrists and attempting multiple submissions, while taking little damage, even securing Guida's back. However, Guida was able to escape and in return secured Pettis's back to end the third round ultimately giving Guida the victory via unanimous decision.
Pettis defeated Jeremy Stephens via split decision on October 8 at UFC 136 in a closely contested bout. Pettis used superior wrestling to control Stephens which was especially showcased in round 2, where he was able to take Stephens down three times.
After spending the majority of 2012 recovering from a litany of injuries, Pettis faced Donald Cerrone on January 26, 2013, at UFC on Fox 6. Pettis won the fight by TKO in the first round, finishing Cerrone with a kick to the body. The performance also earned Pettis Knockout of the Night honors. After the victory, Dana White said he was "sold" on Pettis and admitted that after Benson Henderson against Gilbert Melendez on UFC on Fox 7, Pettis was to be the next to fight for the lightweight title.
On February 5, it was announced that Pettis would not wait for a title shot at lightweight, and would instead be dropping down to 145 pounds to challenge featherweight champion, José Aldo on August 3 at UFC 163. However, on June 14, Dana White announced that Pettis had pulled out of the Aldo bout with a serious knee injury, and that Aldo would instead defend the title against Chan Sung Jung.
A few weeks later after a quick recovery, it was announced on July 12 that Pettis would receive a UFC lightweight title shot as he replaced an injured TJ Grant against Benson Henderson on August 31 at UFC 164. The fight was a rematch from the last WEC event, WEC 53, where Henderson was defeated by Pettis via unanimous decision. Pettis defeated Henderson via armbar submission in the first round. The win also earned Pettis his first Submission of the Night bonus award in the UFC.
Pettis was expected to make his first title defense against TJ Grant on December 14 at UFC on Fox 9. However, Grant revealed in mid-September that he had yet to be medically cleared after suffering a concussion in training and would not be eligible to compete on December 14. Pettis was then expected to face Josh Thomson at the event. However, the bout was canceled in mid-November after Pettis pulled out of the bout citing a knee injury.
José Aldo again was in talks to fight Pettis after defending his title against Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169. At the post-fight press conference, Aldo expressed interest to move up and fight Pettis at 155 lbs. However, those plans were quickly refuted as Pettis was selected to serve as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 20, opposite Gilbert Melendez and the two would face each other at UFC 181 on December 6, 2014. Pettis won the fight via guillotine choke in the second round, becoming the first man to finish Melendez. He also earned a Performance of the Night bonus award.
On the heels of a three-fight losing streak, Pettis announced in June 2016 his intention to drop to featherweight for his next fight. Pettis fought Charles Oliveira in his featherweight debut on August 27, 2016, at UFC on Fox 21. Pettis won the fight via guillotine choke in the 3rd round.
Pettis faced Max Holloway for the interim UFC Featherweight Championship on December 10, 2016, at UFC 206. At the weigh-ins, Pettis came in at 148 pounds, three pounds over the featherweight limit of 145 lbs. for a championship fight. As a result, in the event that Pettis were to win the fight with Holloway, he would be ineligible for the UFC championship. Pettis was also fined 20% of his purse, which went to Holloway and the bout proceeded at a catchweight. Pettis is the first fighter to miss weight for a UFC championship bout since Travis Lutter at UFC 67 in February 2007. He lost the fight via TKO in the third round.
Pettis faced Dustin Poirier on November 11, 2017, at UFC Fight Night 120. Pettis lost the fight via TKO after tapping out due to a broken rib when Poirier applied a body triangle in the third round. This fight also won him the Fight of the Night bonus award.
Pettis was expected to face Michael Chiesa on April 7, 2018, at UFC 223, but the bout was cancelled two days before the event after Chiesa was injured in an incident in which Conor McGregor hurled a dolly through the window of the bus Chiesa was in. The shards of the shattered window cut Chiesa, who was deemed unfit to fight by the athletic commission. On April 6, 2018, UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway was declared medically unfit by the New York State Athletic Commission and was pulled from his main event fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Pettis accepted the opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 for the lightweight championship on a days notice with the hope of getting $1,000,000 for the fight. The UFC declined paying him this much money and the deal fell through.
The bout with Chiesa was rescheduled to UFC 226. At weight-ins, Chiesa weighed in at 157.5 pounds, 1.5 pounds over the non-title lightweight limit of 156 pounds. As a result, the fight proceeded catchweight bout with Chiesa forfeiting 30% of his purse to Pettis. Pettis won the fight via triangle arm bar submission in the second round. This fight earned him the Performance of the Night award.
Pettis faced Tony Ferguson on October 6, 2018, at UFC 229. He lost the bout via TKO (corner stoppage) after two back and forth rounds. Pettis' longtime coach and cornerman, Duke Roufus informed the referee that he would not continue after suffering a broken hand. This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.
On January 19, 2019, it was announced that Pettis would be returning to Welterweight for the first time since 2008 to face Stephen Thompson. This fight served as the headliner of UFC on ESPN+ 6 on March 23, 2019. Pettis won the fight via knockout in the second round, becoming the first man to knock out Thompson in his entire MMA and kickboxing career. This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.
Championships and accomplishments
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC Lightweight Championship (One time)
- One successful title defense
- Fight of the Night (Two times) vs. Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson
- Knockout of the Night (Two times) vs. Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone
- Submission of the Night (One time) vs. Benson Henderson
- Performance of the Night (Three times) vs. Gilbert Melendez, Michael Chiesa, and Stephen Thompson
- UFC Lightweight Championship (One time)
- World Extreme Cagefighting
- Gladiators Fighting Series
- GFS Lightweight Championship (One time)
- One successful title defense
- FIGHT! Magazine
- 2010 Newcomer of the Year
- Inside MMA
- 2013 Male Fighter of the Year Bazzie Award
- USA Today
- World MMA Awards
In the fall of 2014, Pettis was voted to be the first UFC champion to appear on the cover of General Mills' Wheaties box wearing his belt. The box appeared in stores in early 2015. However, when the box came out Anthony Pettis had already lost his belt to dos Anjos.
Pettis appeared on episode 4 of World of Jenks, where documentary maker Andrew Jenks lived with Pettis for a week before his fight against Danny Castillo at WEC 47. The episode gave an inside look into Pettis' fight preparations as well as giving insights into his family life.
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|33 matches||23 wins||10 losses|
|Win||23–10||Donald Cerrone||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 249||May 9, 2020||3||5:00||Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|Loss||22–10||Carlos Diego Ferreira||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 246||January 18, 2020||2||1:46||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Lightweight bout.|
|Loss||22–9||Nate Diaz||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 241||August 17, 2019||3||5:00||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||22–8||Stephen Thompson||KO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis||March 23, 2019||2||4:55||Nashville, Tennessee, United States||Return to Welterweight. Performance of the Night.|
|Loss||21–8||Tony Ferguson||TKO (corner stoppage)||UFC 229||October 6, 2018||2||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||21–7||Michael Chiesa||Submission (triangle armbar)||UFC 226||July 7, 2018||2||0:52||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Catchweight (157.5 lb) bout; Chiesa missed weight. Performance of the Night.|
|Loss||20–7||Dustin Poirier||Submission (body triangle)||UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Pettis||November 11, 2017||3||2:08||Norfolk, Virginia, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||20–6||Jim Miller||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 213||July 8, 2017||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Return to Lightweight.|
|Loss||19–6||Max Holloway||TKO (body kick and punches)||UFC 206||December 10, 2016||3||4:50||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||For the interim UFC Featherweight Championship; Pettis missed weight (148 lb) and was ineligible to win the title.|
|Win||19–5||Charles Oliveira||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC on Fox: Maia vs. Condit||August 27, 2016||3||1:49||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||Featherweight debut.|
|Loss||18–5||Edson Barboza||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 197||April 23, 2016||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||18–4||Eddie Alvarez||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz||January 17, 2016||3||5:00||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Loss||18–3||Rafael dos Anjos||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 185||March 15, 2015||5||5:00||Dallas, Texas, United States||Lost the UFC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||18–2||Gilbert Melendez||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 181||December 6, 2014||2||1:53||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Defended the UFC Lightweight Championship. Performance of the Night.|
|Win||17–2||Benson Henderson||Submission (armbar)||UFC 164||August 31, 2013||1||4:31||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States||Won the UFC Lightweight Championship. Submission of the Night.|
|Win||16–2||Donald Cerrone||TKO (body kick)||UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson||January 26, 2013||1||2:35||Chicago, Illinois, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||15–2||Joe Lauzon||KO (head kick and punches)||UFC 144||February 26, 2012||1||1:21||Saitama, Japan||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||14–2||Jeremy Stephens||Decision (split)||UFC 136||October 8, 2011||3||5:00||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Loss||13–2||Clay Guida||Decision (unanimous)||The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos Finale||June 4, 2011||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||13–1||Benson Henderson||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 53||December 16, 2010||5||5:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States||Won the WEC Lightweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||12–1||Shane Roller||Submission (triangle choke)||WEC 50||August 18, 2010||3||4:51||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Submission of the Night.|
|Win||11–1||Alex Karalexis||Submission (triangle choke)||WEC 48||April 24, 2010||2||1:35||Sacramento, California, United States|
|Win||10–1||Danny Castillo||KO (head kick and punches)||WEC 47||March 6, 2010||1||2:27||Columbus, Ohio, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Loss||9–1||Bart Palaszewski||Decision (split)||WEC 45||December 19, 2009||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||9–0||Mike Campbell||Submission (triangle choke)||WEC 41||June 7, 2009||1||1:49||Sacramento, California, United States||Return to Lightweight.|
|Win||8–0||Gabe Walbridge||TKO (punches)||GFS: Season's Beatings||December 13, 2008||1||0:56||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States||Welterweight debut.|
|Win||7–0||Jay Ellis||TKO (submission to punches)||GFS 55||October 4, 2008||1||1:12||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States||Defended the GFS Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||6–0||Sherron Leggett||Decision (split)||GFS: Fight Club||June 21, 2008||3||5:00||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States||Won the GFS Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||5–0||Mike Lambrecht||KO (head kick)||GFS: Knockout Kings||March 29, 2008||1||1:49||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||4–0||George Barrazza||TKO (body kick and punches)||GFS: The Warriors||February 16, 2008||1||2:31||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||3–0||Michael Skinner||TKO (submission to punches)||GFS: Seasons Beatings||December 1, 2007||1||0:36||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||2–0||Lonny Amdahl||TKO (injury)||GFS: Rumble in the Cage||August 17, 2007||1||0:12||Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||1–0||Tom Erspamer||TKO (punches)||GFS: Super Brawl||January 27, 2007||1||0:24||Wisconsin, United States|
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|Awards and achievements|
| 7th WEC Lightweight Champion
December 16, 2010
WEC Lightweight division
was dissolved into the UFC
| 6th UFC Lightweight Champion
August 31, 2013 – March 14, 2015
Rafael dos Anjos