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Jeremy Stephens signs with PFL, eager to rematch ‘fat and out of shape’ Anthony Pettis

Jeremy Stephens has a new home.

This past week, it was revealed that Stephens parted ways with the UFC after nearly 15 years on roster. With 34 fights in the organization, he was one of the longest-tenured fighters under contract. But now, the veteran lightweight is set to ply his trade in the PFL.

“I asked [the UFC] to give me a favorable matchup,” Stephens said on The MMA Hour. “I’ve been fighting beasts, a murderers row for two decades, and I just felt like I was getting iced out. Only fighting once a year, that’s not good on the bank account. I’m just trying to be typical, just like you, I’m trying to provide for my family and the only way I can do that is to fight, and they weren’t really fighting me.

“I got options to go other places once that contract was up. I didn’t even realize I was up on the contract. Probably almost five months went by on the contract, and I didn’t realize my contract was up. I thought I had one more fight on there, and I searched my options and PFL, we’re gonna go do our best to knock everybody the f*ck out and get a million dollars.”

Stephens said he spoke to other organizations but ultimately chose to sign with the PFL because of the matchups available and the frequency with which he would compete.

“It’s a great organization, the fighters over there, the matchups, the potential,” Stephens said of the PFL. “They’re gonna pay me a little bit more than the UFC, and I have a chance at a million dollars, which is doable, which I really love. Maybe go in there, win that million dollars, and I like the fact that they fight back to back, month after month. I’m not getting any younger. I love to constantly be fighting. I don’t like sitting and waiting for opponents six months down the road. I’d rather fight once every three months.”

Stephens, who competed at both lightweight and featherweight during his UFC run, announced he will take part in the PFL’s upcoming lightweight tournament. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of competing in other divisions as well in the future.

“If I can keep doing that, win the million dollars, if they happen to do a [featherweight tournament in] the next one ... I’ll drop down and steal the million dollars from the 45ers too,” Stephens said. “F*ck, I’ll even go up to [welterweight]. There’s opportunity out there, and there’s fights, there’s matchups.”

Among those is a rematch with former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Stephens lost a split decision Pettis at UFC 136, and with both men once again under the same promotional banner, he said he’d like the opportunity to run that one back.

“Definitely a potential matchup,” Stephens said. “But I’ve seen Anthony Pettis at the UFC, we were hanging, shaking hands, but honestly bro, he looked fat and out of shape. His cheeks looked like cheeseburgers. That boy looks like he’s getting paid too much. So I would love to run that back with Anthony.

“Last time, I turned him into a wrestler, he just wanted to wrestle me the whole time. We were in a different place and space at that time, I think now we could bring a lot more violence and action-packed, and I’m gonna be in better shape than that boy, trust me. He’s eating too good.”

The PFL recently announced a new multi-year broadcast deal with ESPN and their 2022 regular season is scheduled to begin on April 20.

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