Anthony Pettis has confirmed his desire to try a new weight division.
The former UFC Lightweight champion, who a little over 12 months ago was one of the UFC's brightest stars, has recently suffered three straight defeats.
On his Instagram page, he tagged himself in a picture with his teammates at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, with a caption '145 in the works.'
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It is expected that he will team up with Mike Dolce, one of the sport's best nutritionists, ahead of the move to featherweight.
Pettis won the lightweight belt back at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He defeated then long reigning champion Benson Henderson in the first round. He followed that up with an impressive 2nd round submission win over top contender Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181.
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Prior to his win over Melendez, UFC president Dana White labelled Pettis as the best fighter in the world, “Honestly, I think Pettis is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, if the kid can stay healthy, This kid is able to do things to people that other people can’t do. The famous run-off-the-cage kick, he bounces off the cage and hits people with knees.
“The thing is with him, he’s so powerful with his kicks, that once he kicks you he hurts you immediately. Human beings can’t take the kicks to the body that this kid throws.”
It seemed like he was set to join the sport's elite, with numerous sponsorship's heading his way. He headlined his first pay-per-view event as a defending champion at UFC 185. He was up against Rafael Dos Anjos, Pettis was the favourite leading into the bout. However, it was noticeable very quickly into the fight, that Dos Anjos was more than a match for Pettis, too much in fact. The Brazilian thoroughly dominated Pettis for 5 rounds on route to a unanimous decision victory.
Pettis next stepped into the octagon in January 2016 to face Eddie Alvarez, it was billed as a contenders bout, with a winner in line for a title shot. This proved to be the case as Alvarez ground Pettis down over 3 rounds, and won via split decision, thus earning himself a shot at Dos Anjos in July.
Realizing he needed to make a change, Pettis spent the majority of his next camp training with well renowned wrestling coach Izzy Martinez. After being taken down at will by his last two opponents, many thought this was a wise move. He was next drawn to face Brazilian Muay Thai specialist Edson Barboza, it was expected to be a fight of the year candidate between two of the sport's outstanding striker's. Unfortunately for Pettis, it went the same way as his previous two fights, as he fell to a unanimous decision loss.
This time there was no excuse of facing a wrestler, he simply did not perform on the night, he seemed flat, and Barboza won the majority of exchanges.
It remains to be seen whether Anthony Pettis can regain a title in the UFC, or whether he will always be remembered for the Showtime kick against Benson Henderson. It will be an interesting move for him, as he will be one of the taller guys in the division, it is expected that he will return to the Octagon over the summer.