Anthony Pettis earned his second consecutive victory at 170 pounds at UFC Fight Night 183, but it appears that a return to lightweight is in his future.
After a decision victory against Alex Morono on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, the former 155-pound champion admitted that his own habits have been holding him back in recent years, which is why he hasn’t been cutting weight as often. Four of Pettis’ last four Octagon appearances have taken place at welterweight.
“Guys at 170 are big dudes. It’s a different beast than 155. The reason I wasn’t at 155 is pure laziness,” Pettis said. “It was me outside the Octagon getting fat and just not caring like I should care about my career. I was doing some of the extracurricular things like clubs, the partying scene and all the food that comes with that. I’ve cleared that part of my life.
“I’m keeping life outside the Octagon very straight. I know I can get down to 155 and be comfortable.”
Pettis nearly had even more incentive to return to lightweight following a rocky opening stanza against Morono in which his back was taken and his nose was bloodied. “Showtime” found himself in the predicament in part because he attempted to land one of his trademark flashy attacks in the bout’s early moments. Fortunately, Pettis was able to remain composed and eventually reverse position.
“I made a mistake in the first round. I went for that jump kick and he capitalized. His pressure was coming forward, but I should have been more patient with that. I was just anxious to get the fight going—and I paid for that,” Pettis said. “I’ve got a pretty busted up face right now. The first two he hit me with, I felt it immediately. I calmed down and reset. I found my rhythm and range out there. Once I find those, it’s my fight.
“I had to feel him out first. When I went for that jump kick, there was no feeling-out process. It was right at the beginning of the fight. I knew his pressure was coming forward and I thought I’d catch him doing a check-hook. I slipped and when I fell on my back he just capitalized. He took my back and I had to take my time to reverse back on top.”
The Roufusport standout nearly added to his highlight reel in Round 3, when he put Morono on wobbly legs with a spinning kick that grazed his adversary’s head. Pettis pressured for the finish, but Morono was able to survive until the final horn.
“I thought I knocked him out, honestly. I saw his eyes roll back and he didn't know where he was at,” Pettis said. “Even after the fight, he was like, ‘What did you hit me with?’ It was a spinning hook kick, man. He’s tough. My heel still hurts from his head. There was a lot of momentum on that kick and he ate it.
“Big ups to Alex. He’s a tough dude. I knew he was going to be a tough fight. Whoever fights me brings their A-game. They know fighting ‘Showtime’ is an opportunity of a lifetime. I get the best versions of them. I feel very proud of myself. I showed a lot of grit.”