Sergio Pettis seems like he’s been right here earlier than.
As he prepares to face Patchy Mix at Bellator 301 in what may very well be Bellator’s remaining present, Pettis is reminded of certainly one of his remaining UFC flyweight fights in 2019. On the time, he was driving excessive after defeating multi-time UFC title challenger Joseph Benavidez, and he knew a win would seemingly put him in title competition.
Sadly, his stand up the ranks ran parallel to rumors that the UFC was probably dumping your complete 125-pound division. A number of high-profile fighters — together with future champion Brandon Moreno — had instantly been launched from the promotion.
Paramount, the dad or mum firm to Bellator, has been in talks for months about promoting the promotion; its subsidiary, Showtime, is shuttering your complete sports activities division on the finish of this yr. That leaves Pettis and nearly everyone else at Bellator caught in limbo, with no actual concept what occurs after Friday’s occasion.
“I really feel like I used to be on this scenario earlier than,” Pettis advised MMA Preventing. “Once I was within the flyweight division for the UFC and I used to be preventing Jussier Formiga, and I discovered like two days earlier than I fought him that the UFC was fascinated with eliminating the entire flyweight division.
“It threw off my mentality. I used to be like, ‘Why do I even care about successful this combat if I’m not even going to have the ability to get a shot on the title?’ I really feel like I’ve discovered from that.”
The UFC by no means removed the division, however the injury was already accomplished for Pettis, who misplaced a unanimous resolution to Formiga.
That’s why Pettis refuses to let questions on Bellator’s future distract him from the duty at hand. He’s about to face an opponent with an 18-1 report, together with 13 finishes. Combine simply demolished Pettis’ teammate, Raufeon Stots, with a blistering 80-second knockout.
“None of that s*** issues to me,” Pettis mentioned. “No matter occurs with Bellator occurs. I’m their champion. I’m proud to be their champion. I plan on nonetheless being the champion after this Friday night time.”
If there’s a constructive spin to Bellator’s pending doom, it’s that Pettis finds himself in an advantageous place with six straight wins, 5 of them at bantamweight. He took out Patricio Pitbull, who’s extensively thought of the Bellator GOAT, in lopsided vogue.
Now Pettis seems so as to add Combine to his win column as effectively. His present promotion could also be in peril, however he feels assured he’ll land on his ft it doesn’t matter what occurs.
“I feel this win over Patchy this weekend opens up much more doorways for me,” Pettis mentioned. “That was the entire purpose. As quickly as I left the UFC, they’re telling me I must turn into a champion elsewhere for numbers and all that additional stuff. I ended caring about that.
“I’m simply taking it combat by combat. Having enjoyable. I’m on this for the lengthy haul. Wherever I find yourself, I find yourself. I’m nonetheless going to be the most effective martial artist I could be and that’s all I could be accountable for.”
So as to add to that, Pettis only recently celebrated his thirtieth birthday, and he seems like he’s simply now beginning to attain his full potential, which is horrifying to suppose contemplating the report he’s already amassed in his profession.
“I’m a late bloomer,” Pettis mentioned with fun. “I haven’t proven my full functionality. I haven’t proven the whole lot I’ve. These subsequent 5 years, I actually plan on leaving my mark on the game and changing into among the finest to do it.
“I used to be truly doing the maths just lately of the final 4 guys I fought and I feel [their combined records were] like 127 wins and 19 losses. It’s loopy. It’s all coming collectively. I’m actually excited for this Friday. That is the whole lot I wished.”