Anthony Pettis knows he has a big target on his back.
Pettis, the former UFC lightweight champion, signed with the PFL for the 2021 season after fighting out his contract. It was an interesting move for “Showtime” and because of his credentials, he knows all the lightweights will be chasing him.
“Just the resume I have puts a target on my back,” Pettis said at media day. “These guys know who I am and they have watched me in this sport, so I definitely have a target on my back.”
In his first fight, Pettis headlines the first PFL show of 2021 against Clay Collard. Like himself, Collard is a UFC veteran, but lately, has been a professional boxer. For Showtime, he thinks that is a scary opponent as Collard has nothing to lose and can go all out looking for the KO.
“I was the champion in every organization, so I’ve always had a target on my back,” Pettis said. “I know what these guys are looking forward to. The scary part about it is that (Collard has) got nothing to lose. He can just go out there, bite on his mouthpiece and go – and that’s what I’m not trying to get caught up in. It’s another fight. These guys, there’s some good talent in this organization, and I have to be sharp and on my game.”
Ultimately, for Pettis, he’s confident he can win the PFL lightweight tournament. If he does that, he says it will only further his legacy even more as one of the best.
“My legacy is kind of already written, (but) I’m still going,” Pettis said. “I’m 34-years-old. This camp was amazing. I felt so good. The structure and the motivation is everything that came along with this. Before, when I was up and coming, I wanted to be remembered as the guy who fought anyone, anywhere, any time while I was fighting at 145, 155, and 170.
“And now I have an opportunity to become a three-organization champion, and that can be done in a year,” Pettis continued. “I’m very excited about the opportunity that’s in front of me.”