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Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis to join PFL roster for 2021 season

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It didn’t take long for former UFC champion Anthony Pettis to find a new fighting home.

One day after he announced his intention to explore free agency following the end of his UFC contract, Pettis has signed a deal to join the PFL and participate in the promotion’s upcoming 2021 season.

Multiple people with knowledge of the deal confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday following an initial report from ESPN. The PFL confirmed Pettis’ signing via Twitter. The UFC did not respond to a request for comment on Pettis’ departure on Wednesday afternoon.

Pettis just competed at this past weekend’s UFC Vegas 17 card, where he earned a decision win over Alex Morono in the featured prelim. The former 155-pound champion is currently riding a two-fight winning streak that includes a victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Pettis was a mainstay of both the UFC and WEC; his career dates back to 2009 with the latter, and he won lightweight titles in both promotions. In recent years, Pettis had also competed as a welterweight, where he picked up a stunning knockout win over two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

As part of the PFL roster, Pettis will compete in the lightweight division, where Natan Schulte is currently the two-time defending champion.

PFL did not host any fights during 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the promotion has added several high-profile free agents in recent months, including former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and multi-title boxing champion Claressa Shields.

Pettis will now join that list as he prepares to compete in the PFL starting in 2021.