The UFC has been on a talent signing spree with several contracts being inked for new fighters entering the hallowed grounds of the octagon. Among the latest, is Sergio Pettis, the 20 year old brother of lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis. The Phenom will be making his debut on the UFC 167 against Vaughan Lee in Las Vegas.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Pettis for a quick interview. Sergio discussed his opponent, whether he'll be making a run in both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions, what it was like growing up in the Pettis househould and more. Here's what he had to say:
I was the baby, so of course I got picked on a lot, mostly by Anthony. Him and I didn't get on that well growing up; I was a lot closer to my older brother. The sport drew Anthony and me closer together, training together and being roommates. I've very grateful having my brother in my career as a role model for me
Our mom went to college where they offered a Tae Kwon Do program for kids, so instead of having a babysitter or something she would put us in a Tae Kwon Do class. Tae Kwon Do taught life skills, like respect and self-esteem. We took our martial arts to a new level and my mom really doesn't like the fact we do mixed martial arts, ‘You guys are too handsome to get hit in the face' [laughs].
I had a really hard fight one time in the RFA, my face was really jacked up and I couldn't see, but I really didn't mind it. It's a learning experience. Of course I don't want to come out looking all beat up, but sometimes you need fights like that to understand the fighting game better.
The UFC haven't asked if I'm interested in jumping between flyweight and bantamweight, but it's something I would be interested in. I feel good at 135lbs, the weight class isn't very harsh on my, but 125lbs is a hard weight cut for me. I walk around about 155lbs-158lbs, and 125lbs is kind of pushing it. I fought at 125 in the RFA and even though I had a good performance the weight cut really killed me. I mean, if the opportunity is there and they want me to fight at flyweight, I would definitely take it because the division is brand new and I would get a title shot right away.
Vaughan Lee is an aggressive fighter, he's a southpaw who comes forward hard and he's had some really tough fights against guys like Dillashaw and Assuncao. He's a good martial artist, I think he'll be a tough fight for me. He's going to go out there and try to knock me out. He's a grown man and I'm still a little kid, so he's going to have to prove himself by beating me.
Counter Striking Skills
That's something I learned from Duke; being patient in there. That's the key. You can't force things in there, if you try to force the knockout that's when you usually end up getting hurt. I'm patient in there, but when I see that opportunity I try to go for it and try to end the fight as soon as possible.
Comparison to Anthony
At first it used to bother me when people would compare me to Anthony, but I don't mind being compared to him; he's a great fighter. I look up to my own brother. After his last fight, when I saw him I was star-struck by my own brother, it was crazy, I had never felt that. I do want to be seen as a separate fighter, though. We might have the same goatee and we might look a lot alike, but we have different personalities and different fighting styles. I feel like we're always going to have that competition between us. That's a question I get a lot, "When are you going to get taller and fight your brother?" It's like, man, I wish I could grow but I'm probably not going to be able to fight my brother.
We're so similar it's kind of scary. Her daughter will confuse me for him sometimes and calls me dad because I look a lot like him and I talk like him and we do the same stuff.
We do have different styles. Anthony is crazy in there man, he's so comfortable that he's kicking off of cages and doing cartwheel kicks. I'm still young in the game and I haven't took too many chances yet. I stick to the basics and try to just win these fights to get to the next level. I think more experience is what's going to help me get out of my shell a little bit. The more I fight, the more I'm going to throw my traits in there as well. I have all the moves Anthony does, I just don't throw them, I don't have the confidence yet.
Training with Anthony
I don't ever get discouraged, especially with my brother, or even with any of my other training partners; these guys are the best in the world and that's what I'm trying to work out to be. That's what I'm trying to be; one of the best in the world, I want people to see me as the best in the world. There are days that I'm going to get beat up by my brother, and that's fine, that's how you learn. If you're not getting beat up, if you're not getting submitted, then you're not learning.
Having him in my camp really helps me out. If I'm having a bad day in an 8 week camp, he'll give me the talk, "It's all good, everybody has these days, it's like a rollercoaster, sometimes you're all the way up there, sometimes you're all the way down." I like it man, I like the competition between me and my brother.
Favorite Striking Technique?
I like the spinning hook kick. I think in MMA it's called the spinning wheel kick.
Favorite Grappling Technique?
I like triangles, that's my favorite submission.
Favorite Aspect of MMA to Train in?
I love striking. I think it's the most technical and dangerous aspect.
Favorite Fight of All Time to Watch?
Anthony Pettis vs Ben Henderson, the first fight.
First MMA Fight You Remember Seeing?
GSP's first fight with Matt Hughes.
Favorite Action Star
I like Jean Claude Van Damme from Bloodsport
Rap, Hip Hop and RnB
Favorite Other Sports
I watch football and basketball
Miami Heat and The Green Bay Packers
You can follow Sergio via his Twitter account, @SergioPettis