Anthony Pettis is bringing his new promotion, Showtime Fighting Championship, to the UFC Fight Pass in 2022.
“I made a name for myself on Showtime – the flashy moves, the cage kicks, the big knockouts,” Pettis said. “The fans know when I’m fighting there’s a show, and that’s what I’m going to do with my cards. And our deal with Fight Pass is huge for us. Now you can follow someone’s entire career and watch them become a champion.
With another year on his contract with the PFL, Pettis, 34, remains active in the cage. He also believes the time is right to kick off the Showtime Fighting Championship, which kicks off February 11 in Lakeland, Fla. At the RP Funding Center.
“I always knew I was going to do this,” Pettis said. “I started the LLC four years ago and knew the only name would be Showtime.
“I have one more fight to finalize on the map, and all of these matches will be announced soon. This is going to be all about the next generation of fighters. We have a great team in place, and I need it, especially since I’m still fighting. But the time has come, and everything is going well. “
After securing back-to-back wins in the Octagon in 2020, Pettis left the UFC and signed with the PFL. Despite his status as a lifelong elite competitor, he encountered obstacles in his first two fights against the PFL, both of which were losses.
“It was a different energy,” said Pettis, a former UFC lightweight champion. “I left the UFC with two wins, fighting the best of the best. Mentally, I know I’m better than what I’ve shown in the last two fights. I’m doing another PFL season, and I’m starting my training now. My next fight will be in April, then I’ll have eight weeks between fights. It’s different from how I typically train between bouts with recovery and weight maintenance.
“The guy who became champion [Raush Manfio], I lost to him in a very close split decision. I know my skill level, I just need to refine my approach. If I can be successful next year, I’ll be one of the first guys to have three different belts in three different organizations. In addition, I will start my own promotion. It’s going to be a fun 2022.
Anthony Pettis on Boxing Jake Paul: “I’m a Million Percent Serious About Boxing”
After watching Jake Paul take down Tyron Woodley last weekend, Pettis is also set to make a statement in boxing. And as for an adversary, he is open to a fight against Paul.
“I actually trained with Jorge Capetillo, who is Tyson Fury’s coach,” Pettis said. “The PFL season runs from April to October or November. This is my last season with them, so I’ll be a free agent. There are a lot of opportunities for me going forward, and I’m a million percent serious about boxing.
Pettis trained with Woodley for years as teammates at Roufusport, and he holds the former UFC welterweight champion in high regard. Still, he wasn’t surprised that Paul had defeated Woodley twice.
“Jake Paul understands the science of boxing,” Pettis said. “When you put a guy in there against him who doesn’t have that, the boxer is going to win. Tyron is one of my teammates, but these fights have shown me that the guy who studies boxing the longest will win.
Another Roufusport teammate who creates a buzz every week is Phil Brooks, better known as CM Punk. Pettis has seen Punk bring uninterrupted energy to wrestling since his debut last August at AEW.
“He’s my boy,” Pettis said. “I love what he does at AEW. He is one of the best artists in the world. And I know why he’s so successful. I saw him train. I know his dedication. He’s a really genuine guy and he deserves all of his success.
Pettis has spent his entire adult life dedicated to MMA. The knowledge he acquired over the past 14 years led him to found his management group, First Round Management, which practically served as a precursor to the start of his own promotion.
“Showtime Fighting Championship has been a work in progress for a long time, and it connects to my management group,” said Pettis. “I started my management group because I wanted to help the guys in my gym with their careers and the path they should be taking, even helping with negotiations. I have been in the game for a very long time, and learned a lot at a young age. Now I can help my teammates and even my brother, who is now champion.
Pettis clearly taught his brother Sergio the spectacular finishes. In 2010, Pettis left the fighting world with his “Showtime” kick by running into the cage, jumping out of her, and then landing a kick in the air in a fight with Benson Henderson. Earlier this month, Sergio Pettis escaped what appeared to be definite defeat when he knocked out Kyoji Horiguchi with an outrageous punch return in a successful defense of his Bellator bantamweight title.
“It was his ‘Showtime’ kick,” Pettis said. “It was a title fight, which ended until the end, and he succeeded. Anyone can win a fight, but who can make fans remember and keep talking about what happened in that fight? My ‘Showtime’ kick is 11, and it’s still one of the greatest highlights in MMA history. This is something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. My brother needed it and he got it.
Pettis’ next goal is to create a collection of emerging MMA stars from scratch. He plans to do this by bringing in exciting fighters and attacking the market with great shows.
“We’re not looking to get boring fights,” Pettis said. “Showtime Championship Fighting allows fans to follow fighters throughout their careers, development and journey. We want to show off the next big names. We go to the East Coast to start, the Midwest, then the West Coast, then Texas to finish. So we’re going to be showing these fights to a wide variety of people across the country.
“We’re going to showcase the next generation of champions in Showtime. This is what you want to see in mixed martial arts.
Shortage of elite heavyweights exposed last weekend
Derrick Lewis wiped out Chris Daukaus last Saturday night at the Apex in Las Vegas. With the win, Lewis broke the UFC record for most knockout wins (13). His performance was also a reminder that there is a serious shortage of elite heavyweights.
The UFC heavyweight division includes defending champion Francis Ngannou and interim champion Ciryl Gane. Former two-time champion Stipe Miocic is the second heavyweight. Despite his advanced age (39), Miocic is a real threat to win the title for the third time. It’s also possible that Jon Jones will finally make his heavyweight debut in the UFC, but there’s clearly no rush for that to happen. Lewis is ranked third in the division, and although he was outclassed by Gane, he holds a victory over Ngannou. This collection of heavyweights is clearly above the rest of the division, a point Lewis underscored by beating seventh-ranked Daukaus in a fight that didn’t extend beyond the first round.
Even with the loss, Daukaus did not drop in the standings. It’s because no one below him in the standings was going to jump on him. There is hope Tai Tuivasa can continue the momentum and rise to the title, but so far no other heavyweight belongs to this elite. Curtis Blaydes, fourth, is not far away, as are Alexander Volkov (5th) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (6th).
Had Daukaus won on Saturday it could have sparked a changing of the guard in the heavyweight division. But it was not, and the future of the division will be decided by the same five men.
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