Anthony Pettis’ boxing debut was enough to convince him to return to what he does best.
The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion couldn’t quite make a splash in boxing. Last weekend, Pettis headlined a Gamebred Boxing card against 54-year-old Roy Jones Jr. in a heavyweight fight. While Pettis won a unanimous decision over the aged and inactive legend, it was far from an inspiring performance.
After the fight, Pettis expressed gratitude to Jones and said he was ready to go back to MMA. During the post-fight press conference, the 36-year-old wants to return to the octagon as a welterweight.
“I still have some MMA left in me. I definitely want to move up to 170 pounds. I think doing that tournament at 155, I just couldn’t be myself. I was cutting too much. I didn’t feel good in the training camp. Once I figure out the weight class and the opportunities, (I’ll be OK). I’m a free agent right now, so I get to sit back and take the fights as they come. I’m in a good spot.”
Pettis’ struggles against Jones clearly have left him with no alternative if he wishes to continue his combat sports career.
Anthony Pettis is long removed from his prime
At one point, Pettis was 18-2 and in the prime of his career. Since then, he’s gone 7-12, including back-to-back losses to Stevie Ray in 2022.
Pettis’ struggles are likely to continue, even in a new weight class. In his last few fights in the UFC, Pettis floated between lightweight and welterweight before his contract expired. During his run at PFL, he competed at lightweight.
Whether Pettis can recapture any semblance of his glory days rests on him finding some sort of consistency. As Pettis continues to push towards 40, he has to turn the corner quickly.
Otherwise, the only thing left for the potential Hall of Fame candidate to do will be to participate in freak show fights like the Jones debacle in the years to come.