Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, 33, is now a free agent. The professional mixed martial artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States took to social media to announce his departure from the Ultimate Fighting Championship on December 22, 2020.
Pettis thanked not only UFC president Dana White. The Milwaukee native also recognized Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, Reed Harris, Sean Shelby, Dave Sholler and Burt Watson‘s contributions to his career as an MMA fighter.
Competing professionally since 2007, Pettis made his successful UFC debut on October 8, 2011 by defeating Jeremy Stephens via split decision at “UFC 136.” Prior to this, the Milwaukee native lost to Clay Guida via unanimous decision in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 13 on June 4, 2011.
On August 31, 2013, Pettis became the UFC Lightweight Champion by dethroning Benson Henderson at “UFC 164” in Milwaukee. After successfully defending his title from Gilbert Melendez at “UFC 181” on December 6, 2014, Pettis was dethroned by Rafael dos Anjos at “UFC 185” in Dallas, Texas, USA on March 14, 2015.
Since Pettis is not retiring yet, he is expected to move to a different promotion. Among the top promotions he is likely to consider are ONE Championship, Bellator MMA and Professional Fighters League.
Pettis was born in Milwaukee on January 27, 1987 to a Puerto Rican father and a Mexican mother. His brother Sergio Pettis, 27, competed in the UFC from 2013 to 2019 and has been competing in Bellator MMA since January 2020.
If Anthony follows his brother in Bellator MMA, the promotion may pit him against Henderson for a rematch. After competing in the UFC from 2011 to 2015, Henderson moved to Bellator MMA in 2015.
In ONE Championship, Anthony will meet Eddie Alvarez, who won the lightweight titles in both the UFC and Bellator MMA. Other strong lightweight contenders in ONE Championship are Pieter Buist, Marat Gafurov and Ev Ting.
Another great option for Anthony is to compete in the 2021 season of the PFL. Among the lightweight contenders in the league are former UFC fighters Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Clay Collard.