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Coach: Sergio Pettis targeting San Francisco card, return to flyweight

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Sergio Pettis
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Follow the bouncing Sergio Pettis.

With the status of the UFC’s flyweight division being so uncertain for the last year, it made a lot of sense for Pettis to return to the bantamweight division for his last bout at UFC on FOX 31, even if it was clear he’d be giving up a few pounds and inches to opponent Rob Font. Pettis went on to lose a unanimous decision, and then in June, he withdrew from a bantamweight bout against Ricardo Ramos.

Now, with his minor injuries on the mend according to head coach Duke Roufus, Pettis is eyeing a return to competition at the UFC’s upcoming Oct. 12 event in San Francisco. And he’s also planning to drop back down to 125 pounds, where he rose as a contender in the UFC, with the division apparently experiencing some stability.

“We just talked to his management team and we’re seeking to get on the San Francisco card,” Roufus recently told MMA Fighting. “He’s looking to return to flyweight as well. I was with Henry Cejudo at a UFC pool party and I said, ‘Hey, thanks for saving the flyweight division.’

“I mean, the UFC said it didn’t go away, but it really did go away, they cut a lot of fighters, but Sergio wants to return to flyweight. He had a lot of success there.”

Pettis lost two of his last three fights before moving up to take on Font, though he went the distance with both Jussier Formiga and Cejudo, the current champion of the 125-pound and 135-pound divisions. Speaking to MMA Fighting in April, Roufus expressed confidence in Pettis’s return to bantamweight, saying that the flyweight cut was starting to take its toll on the 25-year-old fighter.

Now that Pettis is changing divisions once more, Roufus is standing by the decision.

“It’s just he’s going through a weird phase of his life,” Roufus said. “I think when he was younger, in between fights he was maybe a little less disciplined. He turns 26 next month and he lives a very disciplined lifestyle year-round. He’s very fit, does a lot of running, I just see that he’s changed as an athlete. My point is when he went to bantamweight he didn’t actually gain that much weight to become a bantamweight, which is weird. He would have had to go on a serious lifting regime to maintain the strength at bantamweight. …

“Sergio’s my dear friend, my teammate. Sergio, you want to be a flyweight, you’re gonna be a flyweight. Once I dial my head in to whatever these guys want, I support them. Is lightweight a tough weight cut for Paul Felder? Yes it is, but if Paul Felder wants to fight at lightweight, we’re fighting at lightweight and that’s what I do. I support my people.”