clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Anthony Pettis not in PFL just for $1 million prize: ‘It’s the wrong motivation’

Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis explains his reasons for joining the Professional Fighters League.

MMA: UFC 249-Pettis vs Cerrone
Anthony Pettis is set to have his PFL debut against Clay Collard.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A one-million dollar prize sure sounds good, but it does not mean everything to former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

After parting ways with the promotion he called home for almost the entire last decade, ‘Showtime’ is looking forward to test his skills in a different kind of environment. Enter the Professional Fighters League.

Picked up by the PFL shortly after his last Octagon bout, back in December 2020, Pettis explains what made him sign with that promotion as opposed to other major ones such as Bellator, where his brother Sergio went after leaving the UFC. In his opinion, the tournament format and its short but fair path to the belt was a big plus, on top of the prize money, of course.

“I sure want to be the champion by the end of the year,” Pettis told Combate. “It’s certainly fair. The best man becomes the champion, as it should be. You don’t have to wait, build your name and fight forever before you can get a title shot. I think that’s what attracted me, but also because I need to stay busy this year. I know what my fights are. I’m fighting four times this year. At this point in my career, this is really important.”

“Money is always good, but they have taken care of me,” Anthony continued. “I won’t have to wait until the end for a big prize. It sure is attractive to be able to win one million dollars on top of what I’m already making. Who doesn’t want one million dollars? But if you’re fighting for the money, you’re not as hungry as you should be. I’ve been there. I’ve made millions for one fight. I was going to fight Jose Aldo when I moved down a weight class for a title shot. I’ve fought for money, for fame, for my legacy. I’ve fought for everything by now. But if guys are out there fighting for money, that’s the wrong motivation.”

Paired up against fellow Octagon veteran turned professional boxer Clay Collard, Anthony expects an exciting fight for his debut. Although he knows his opponent has dedicated most of his past few years to striking, Pettis guarantees he will not shy away from a stand-up battle.

“I’m very excited to fight a guy who only boxes, who is coming to knock me out. He thinks I’m going to try to take him down, for some reason. I think he said something like that. But I’m excited. I like guys who come to fight. That brings out the best in me. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to look for the finish.”

Anthony Pettis (24-10) left the UFC on a two-fight winning streak, with unanimous decision victories over Alex Morono and Donald Cerrone. The 34-year-old’s last loss happened in January 2020, when got tapped out by Carlos Diego Ferreira. After almost 10 years with the promotion, Showtimes parted ways with the Octagon with a 11-9 record.

Now, Anthony Pettis is expected to take on Clay Collard at Professional Fighters League’s first show of its 2021’s season, on April 23, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The card will kickoff this year’s lightweight and featherweight tournaments.