It's not often that MMA fighters find their way onto ESPN, not even UFC champions take coverage of their fights for granted on America's leading sports outlet. For a fighter who's not even in the UFC to break out into mainstream sports media coverage has been unheard of, until now.
Anthony Pettis is about to be a UFC title challenger, but last night he was still with the WEC. Now he's big time. His 'showtime' kick in the final round of his championship fight with Ben Henderson made the ESPN top 10 plays of the day feature (at #2).
He's been trending on Twitter and burning up the search engines.
Zach Arnold breaks down what it all means, for Pettis and the sport:
Go to the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and you'll see lots of people are either talking about what they saw last night or people searching Youtube and other video sharing sites to find the clip of the kick heard around the world. This is not only a big deal for the career of Anthony Pettis but it's also a big deal for UFC, who manages to catch a tremendous break here because Pettis will face the winner of the Gray Maynard/Frankie Edgar fight that will take place in a couple of weeks. No one would have thought before Thursday night's fight that the focus of the 155-pound title unification bout would end up being on Mr. Showtime, but it undoubtedly will be when it comes time to promote the fight because Maynard and Edgar are not big box office attractions (yet).
I've been convinced that there's something very special about Anthony Pettis since his appearance on MTV's World of Jenks drew so much attention. His combination of outside-the-cage charisma and inside-the-cage wizardry is incredibly rare. I don't know if he'll take the UFC lightweight title from the winner of UFC 125's Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard clash, but I do know that I'll be rooting for Pettis to continue to do great things.