Anthony Pettis has lived up to his nickname as “Showtime” on more than a few occasions during his career.
From the infamous “showtime kick” to a slew of jaw-dropping knockouts over the years, Pettis earned his reputation as a fighter who is always just one second away from unleashing something the mixed martial arts world has never seen before.
Thanks to those flashy finishes, Pettis immediately had the attention of all his past opponents because they had to be wary not to get added to his growing highlight reel but it turns out there was also a negative effect on his own approach to fighting.
“I’ve got to start creating that again,” Pettis explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I already have that boogeyman [mentality] going in there, they don’t want to be put on a poster. Most guys that fight me is like ‘I could become a highlight reel.’ I’m feeding into that highlight reel too much.
“I’m forgetting the jabs, the cross, the low kick, things that make the highlight reels happen. I forgot to focus in on that. Obviously, I have that showtime presence already but now I’m going to focus on hurting them with my jabs, hurting them with my little punches and my low kicks and then let the big moves pop up. Creating that is my job.”
In his last fight, Pettis lost a decision to Clay Collard in a back-and-forth war that saw both fighters nearly put the other way during a three round battle. The third round nearly brought Pettis the win after he launched a head kick at Collard and then followed that up with a jumping knee that probably would have left most fighters unconscious on the mat.
Collard found a way to survive and he ultimately won the fight.
While Pettis takes nothing away from Collard and his performance that night, he knows he wasn’t doing the right things to give himself the best possible chance to win and he had to make those changes before making his return at PFL 6 on Friday night.
“I see what mistakes I made and that’s what I did, I went back to Vegas, I’m working with a boxing coach to get my basics back,” Pettis said. “I feel like I was making a lot of dumb errors. I get away with a lot in sparring because I’m so athletic and so good and then when it comes to the fights,
“I’ve got to be on my ‘A’ game. I’ve got to be on my details because everything matters in those 15 minutes.
Pettis added that Collard didn’t throw anything at him that he hasn’t seen before but he just couldn’t execute his own strategy and that ultimately cost him in the fight.
Now as he approaches his second fight in the PFL, Pettis promises that he’s going to remember the weapons in his arsenal that help to set up those highlight reel finishes without constantly seeking them out.
“I have the right mindset,” Pettis said. “I’m going to go basic. I’m going to start basic. I’m going to let it build itself up and I’ll find it.”
Because of the regular season format in the PFL, Pettis needs a win and likely a finish to ensure he’ll move onto the playoffs later this year, which means there’s no room for error this time around.
Of course, Pettis admits that he actually felt more pressure in his debut as he sought to live up to the hype surrounding his signing after becoming one of the biggest free agency pickups in PFL history.
Now he’s only worried about winning and he expects everything else will fall into place — even a possible rematch with Collard down the road if both of them are in the playoffs.
This time around, however, Pettis will have a slightly different approach.
“If I fight him again, I’ll definitely attack his body and not his head,” Pettis joked after Collard survived his third-round onslaught. “The kick was good. The jump knee, that landed flush. He was just taking a shot. It was impact on impact. Usually that’s light’s out.”