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Anthony Pettis on PFL signing: I will become the ‘face of this company’

Anthony Pettis plans to become the face of Professional Fighters League.

Anthony Pettis before his fight against Alex Morono at a UFC Fight Night. Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

It came as quite the shock when Anthony Pettis signed with PFL in December, but the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion has big plans ahead.

Pettis likes the unique tournament format of PFL and plans on winning the lightweight championship within a year which, if we include his GFS, WEC and UFC titles, would make him a four-promotion world champion. Not only that but ‘Showtime’ wants to become the face of the company in 2021 which, according to him, would establish PFL as a household name and competitor to the likes of Bellator, ONE and the UFC.

“I was looking at a couple of deals, a couple of opportunities and the PFL just made the most sense to me, especially at this point in my career,” Pettis said on a recent episode of What the Heck (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “Their format for becoming a champion, I can become a champion in 12 months. It’s a season. I know when I’m gonna fight, it’s definitely a whole different experience for me having the tournament-style like this.

“And also I get to be the face of this company. I know there’s other big names in this, but I’m taking it on my own shoulders to be the face of this company. I feel like it’s my job to make this company a household name and people want to tune in and know when the next PFL fights are happening. That was another big thing for me, saying yes to this part of my career. Bellator, ONE FC, same kind of concept of the UFC, I’d have to work my way up to a title shot. I have to find out who’s the next guy in line, try that aspect, whereas this is laid out how to become a champion. I know how to do it. It’s in 12 months, in a year’s span, there’s 10 guys in my division and only four of ‘em I have to beat, so it’s exciting for me.”

Pettis explained that he had received an offer to renew his UFC contract following his unanimous decision win over Alex Morono at UFC Vegas 17 but chose instead to sign with PFL to embark on a new chapter in his career.

“I wasn’t getting cut,” Pettis said. “I wasn’t on the chopping block, I had an offer from the UFC. But that offer was like putting me back in the same rat race I’ve been in, if you will. I’ve been in that rat race. I know I was going down to 155, everybody’s trying to get that belt again. There’s some names in front of me. It would have been fun to go back and take care of some guys that I know I could have beaten and that I lost to, but when I made this decision I took all that emotion away from it.

“I took away trying to be a champion in the UFC, trying to come back from losses that I had, rematches that I wanted. What makes sense for my career? What makes sense for Anthony Pettis right now? It didn’t take long. I knew what my goals were and these guys are giving me a format for it.”

“It was probably one of the most nervous days of my life,” Pettis said when asked what it was like to sign the PFL contract. “It was making a big decision. Like I’ve said, the UFC’s been nothing but great to me. I’ve had the best opportunities, I’ve gotten treated very, very well in the UFC, taken care of very, very well. Great opportunities. I grew up under them lights, them gloves are part of my life.

“Then deciding that I’m going to go see what’s next, the next part of my career, the next chapter of my career, turning the page onto the next part of my career, I was nervous. I still am nervous. Anything could happen.”

Check out the full video interview below.