Take a look at these career-defining moments to remind yourself of
what “Showtime” is made of.
Long before the pride of Milwaukee set foot inside the Octagon, his
head trainer, Duke Roufus, was already singing his praises. The K-1
veteran has been training “Showtime” since Pettis was 18, and it
didn’t take long for him to realize that he had something special
under his wing. An instance at Gateway Fighting Series solidified
this thought after Pettis faced adversity when his shoulder popped
out in the middle of the bout. Despite the setback, the prospect
went on to knock his opponent out. The martial artist bowed out of
the aforementioned promotion after an undefeated run that saw him
capture its lightweight title.
Pettis dropped his UFC debut and barely won his second. At this
point, fans were casting doubts on his readiness to face the elites
of the division, much less become a champion. In his next bout,
Pettis faced a tough and highly-talented veteran in Joe Lauzon. It
only took him 81 seconds to drop “J-Lau” with a head kick and
ultimately stiffen him up with a few follow-up punches.
Two in a Row
By beating Lauzon decisively, Pettis proved that he could hang with
the best that the UFC had to offer. He was subsequently assigned
another perennial contender in Donald
Cerrone, who back then had only lost once inside the Octagon.
Once again, “Showtime” displayed brilliance technical striking.
Taking a cue from his UFC 144 performance, Pettis threw a
fight-ending kick, this time to the body, and just like that,
Cerrone was stopped due to strikes for the first time in his
career. Pettis, on the other hand, scored the 11th first-round
victory of his career.
Fancied at Featherweight
After losses to Rafael dos
Alvarez and Edson
Barboza, Pettis dropped to featherweight and met submission
Oliveira. He clearly had the striking edge but went for the
submission when the opportunity presented itself. The end came at
1:49 of the third round after Pettis stopped Oliveira’s single leg
attempt by sinking in a tight guillotine choke.
Entertaining as Ever
Pettis’ name may have lost a bit of sheen but that doesn’t mean he
stopped rendering explosive performances. The most recent was the
bloody spectacle he put on with Dustin
Poirier. In the UFC Fight Night 120 main event, the two
combatants engaged in a back-and-forth war, with Pettis threatening
with a triangle choke in the waning seconds of the second round.
While the fight ended anticlimactically after Pettis verbally
tapped due to a rib injury, the action was enough to earn the two
lightweights Fight of the Night honors.