Free agency did not last long for Anthony Pettis. The former WEC and UFC lightweight champion wrapped up the final fight of his UFC contract on December 19th, with a unanimous decision victory over Alex Morono. After the victory, Pettis talked about wanting to test the market to see what kind of price he could command fighting out from under the Zuffa/Endeavor banner for the first time in more than a decade.
For many fighters, that might mean waiting out the UFC’s exclusive negotiation period, or facing the prospect that White & Co. might match whatever contract any other organization could offer over the next twelve months. But, here we are just four days removed from UFC Vegas 17 and it looks like Pettis has his new deal all squared away.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that Pettis has signed to fight for the Professional Fighters League, where he will compete in the lightweight division.
Anthony Pettis has agreed to a new deal with PFL, per multiple sources.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 23, 2020
The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion will be a part of the promotion’s 2021 season and will compete in their lightweight division, sources say.
While the bulk of ‘Showtime’’s MMA run has come at 155 lbs, most recently the longtime Roufusport product has been competing up at welterweight. He’s currently riding back to back wins on his way out of the Octagon, having returned from a lightweight defeat to Diego Ferreira in January to beat Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono back at 170 lbs.
Formerly the World Series of Fighting, the PFL scrapped what would have been their third season in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, in both their 2018 & 2019 tournaments, Brazilian lightweight Natan Schulte (20-3-1) captured PFL gold—and $1 million in prize money for each go-round.
Assuming Schulte is set to return for the promotion’s 2021 season as well, Pettis’ inclusion in the mix should make for a fascinating year. A chance for Pettis to show he’s still got the chops that made him king of the mountain, and a chance for Schulte to prove he’s truly a world class talent.