Former champion Anthony Pettis leaves the UFC, set to test free agency

Mandatory Credit: John Locher – Associated Press

Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis has called time on his twelve-year stint under the Zuffa LLC banner — officially parting ways with the UFC after completing his most recent contract at UFC Vegas 17 last weekend.

Pettis, a former lightweight champion in both the WEC and UFC, headlined the preliminary portion of the organization’s final card of the year last weekend at the UFC Apex facility, managing a unanimous decision victory over Alex ‘The Great White’ Morono over three-rounds. 

Fighting out the last fight of his contract against the Sayif Saud trainee, Pettis briefly floated a return to his previous 155-pound stomping grounds, and during the post-fight press conference, voiced his interest in a rematch with former interim champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson — who has lost his last two on the trot. 

Releasing a statement last night on his official Twitter account, Pettis thanked the promotion and some of their behind the scenes figures for his time under the UFC banner, as he begins to test free-agency.

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Riding a two-fight rise from three outings this year, Pettis featured at UFC 246 in January, dropping a second-round rear-naked choke defeat to streaking grappler, Diego Ferreira. Returning to winning-ways at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida in May, the Roufusport mainstay took home a second career win over Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone prior to last weekend’s decision win over Morono.

Claiming the UFC lightweight crown after a decision defeat to Clay Guida in his Octagon debut, Pettis embarked on a three-fight winning-run, besting Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon, and the above mentioned Cerrone, before capturing the title against two-time foe, Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson. In his sole successful title defence, Pettis submitted challenger, Gilbert Melendez with a second-round guillotine.

Despite dropping eight defeats in his last fourteen Octagon appearances, Pettis is sure to garner attention from some notable promotion’s the world over, including Bellator MMA, PFL, and ONE Championship to name a few. 


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