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Anthony Pettis Didn’t Expect to Get a Fight With Stephen Thompson

February 14, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
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Anthony Pettis spoke with MMAjunkie ahead of his fight with Stephen Thompson at UFC on ESPN+ 6. Highlights are below:

On challenging Stephen Thompson: “Man, I just posted it on Instagram. I didn’t even say anything. I just threw it out there on Instagram, and I was like, ‘Let me see what happens.’ The buzz was good, and he responded, and it came up, so I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’”

On wanting a fight with a high-profile opponent: “Coming off the Ferguson fight, you know I had a great performance. Again, bad luck in my fight – broke my hand. I was in a frustrating spot. I was just so close to having a good performance in that fight. I had to let the hand heal. I did that. I was going back to the drawing board to figure out what was next. The names that I was offered, they were interesting, to be honest. I wanted somebody that’s going to keep me in the mix. I was exploring some options, seeing who else was available, and obviously ‘Wonderboy’ was looking for a fight for a long time. Just the stylistic matchup between me and ‘Wonderboy’ is why I chose him. I feel like that’s a legacy fight for me – one of these fights that can define my career. A win over a welterweight – No. 4 welterweight – never fighting at welterweight and going to fight No. 4 in the world, that’s something that makes me excited. That makes an interesting fight.”

On his familiarity with Thompson: “We’ve definitely watched his film for a long time. He fought Woodley twice. Woodley trains with Duke Roufus, so we have a lot of info on his abilities, his skills, and I just thought I matched up well with him. Everybody counted me out, like, ‘Oh, he’s too small to go to welterweight.’ This fight isn’t about size. It’s about skill. He’s not a wrestler. He’s not going to try holding me down. I don’t think he wants to take me down. My jiu-jitsu is too much for him, so that leaves us for a striking match. I’ve got to be very technical and right on my gameplan, and I should be able to take this fight.”

A win would prove big on many levels, but Pettis said that perhaps most important to him is a chance to prove he can compete in the division. At 32, Pettis believes he’s at an age where he can no longer afford to be patient. He wants the chance to fight as frequently as possible, and opening up a new division would prove incredible beneficial.

On finding at welterweight: “It’s definitely not a one-off. This is just me trying out that division. I’ve been inactive in my career. This is a point where I want to be active. I don’t want to sit around and wait for the right fight at 155. If a 170 opportunity presents itself, I’ll find out right now if that’s what I want to do.”

article topics :

Anthony Pettis, Jeremy Thomas